How to launch a cradle care ministry is one of my favorite kidmin workshops to lead. I love talking about this subject because it provides a way for churches to naturally engage new parents and expectant families.
After every workshop, I receive more emails than I can count. People have follow-up questions about how to establish and maintain a cradle care ministry at church. This type of outreach can benefit all types of families.
Below are my workshop notes. I owe huge thanks to the past and current preschool ministers at Dawson Memorial Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. At the bottom of this post are links to other helpful documents and an article about Dawson’s Cradle Care Ministry.
Recognizing that the anticipation of a new baby through pregnancy or adoption is a crucial transition time in any family, the Cradle Care ministry seeks to minister to expectant families through:
2.) Life-on-Life relationships
3.) Connection to other church ministries and resources
As with all church ministries, the ultimate goal of a Cradle Care Ministry is to draw women and families into a growing relationship with Jesus. A Cradle Care Ministry can also be a tool to develop “investors” in the children’s ministry and future lay leaders in the church.
A Cradle Care Ministry Case Study
The size of our church can be overwhelming, yet the desire for community is virtually universal. The Cradle Care (CC) ministry creates a sense of family by formally recognizing babies on the way and in the fellowship. CC also provides a non-threatening way for relationship building. No long-term commitment or personal service is required in signing up to be a care recipient.
Participants may be ministered to by the CC team, build confidence in the church nursery, and develop a personal path forward in their own spiritual journey. The CC ministry’s ultimate goal is to usher a participant into a Sunday morning fellowship group, Moms-n-More weekly Bible Study, or another ministry venue that aids in personal spiritual development.
Mechanics of a Cradle Care Ministry: 7 Key Steps
1. Care Receiver Sign-Up
Encourage participants to sign up for CC ministry through announcements in the weekly church newsletter/bulletin and online through the church website and Facebook page. Alert other church ministries to watch for potential participants (Sunday School classes, Discipleship Leaders, Moms-n-More, etc.).
In addition, establish relationships between CC ministry team and The Missing Carriage (miscarriage ministry), the adoption ministry, and infertility related ministries. Ideally, participants receive prayer and ministry for nearly one year: pregnancy through the first 3 months of baby’s life.
In cases of adoption, a caregiver can be assigned to a prospective adopted family once a birthmother selects them. CC team members are prepared to minister in this unusual transition time and in the event the adoption falls through.
Sample Wording for Church Bulletin, Newsletter, or Website
Are you expecting a new addition to your family? Do you know someone who is?
The cradle care ministry exists to minister to expectant families in our church and community. Each family is assigned a caregiver to communicate throughout the pregnancy, birth, and family dedication. Parent names are posted on the Expectant Parent board located in ___________. Please drop by to find out who’s due and who’s new!
To enroll someone in the cradle care ministry, contact __________. Please include parents’ names and month due.
2. Caregiver Recruitment
The preschool director and other respected church staff and lay leaders should recruit and select caregivers. You can require CC team members to complete an application. Caregivers are ideally young mothers who are active in church life and demonstrate the ability and desire to aid in the spiritual growth of other women.