Why Churches Must Invest in Preschool Ministry

I cringe each time I hear a church leader call preschool ministry "childcare."  I know they don't intentionally mean to diminish ministry to preschoolers, but it does reflect a mindset that plagues many churches.

They see preschoolers as young children who are not old enough to be invested in and must be corralled until they are in their elementary years.

Please...please...please listen to me.  This mindset must be changed if we are going to reach the next generation.  The early years in a person's life are the most crucial.  Kids learn more and are influenced more in their early years than at any other time in life.  

Recently, researchers analyzed decades of information about children who were ages birth to 5-years-old.  The goal was to measure the long-term impact of investing time, resources and people into preschoolers.  Results show that for every dollar spent investing in disadvantaged preschoolers, there is a return of more than six dollars long-term.   Preschoolers who were invested in early on ended up having higher test scores later in school and at the age of 35, their health was better.  Preschool boys who were invested in grew up to have lower blood pressure and lower drug use.  Preschool girls who were invested in had better adult employment.
"There is a two-generation impact from investing in preschoolers."                                 Nobel Prize-winning economist, Dr. James Heckman of the University of Chicago
I agree.  Churches must invest in preschool ministry.  I believe there is no other area of the church where we will see more long-term results than in preschool ministry.  From the nursery all the way to older preschoolers, we must be intentional about pouring into the lives of children in this age group.

I know it doesn't make sense on paper.  Preschoolers don't have a salary where they can bring their tithes and help support the church.  Preschoolers aren't normally old enough to enter a relationship with Jesus and follow Him in baptism.  Preschoolers can't hold big leadership positions in the church and serve in what is considered significant ways.  Preschoolers can't lead mission trips.  I could go on, but you get the point.  Preschoolers, on paper, don't have a lot to offer the church.

Let me re-phrase this.  Preschoolers can't do or offer these things yet.  But if we will invest in them now, one day they will.  You see, the smallest feet today will one day make the biggest footprints in God's kingdom.

The greatest investment your church can make is in preschool ministry.  They are the church of tomorrow and today...because they are already here. 
If the church is going to be thriving 20 years from now, it will be because we invested in preschoolers today.
Churches need to allocate more of their budget money to preschool ministry this coming year.

Churches should put their best volunteers in the nursery this coming year.

Churches should make sure every preschooler is personally known and cared for this year.

Churches should make their preschool rooms the best in their facility.

Churches should reallocate some of their adult ministry budget into equipping preschool parents.

If you're just doing "childcare," then you'll just do enough to get by.  But if you see preschool ministry as the area where you'll see the most return for your investment, you'll make it a top priority.

May that be the case in many more churches this year.

p.s. You can share the importance of preschool ministry in your church by accessing the seminar "Effective Preschool Ministry in the Church."  It's available at this link.