Several Christian Reformed churches in Classis Lake Erie (a regional group of churches) are ministering to their communities through child care/preschool centers. In turn, these churches are benefiting.
North Hills CRC Child Care Director Cheryl Mueller plays with preschool children.
Enrollments generally range from 25 to 40 children, although Cheryl Mueller, child care center director for North Hills Christian Reformed Church, Troy, Mich., reports that fall 2013 enrollment is already at capacity at 145 infants and preschoolers. These ministries are self-sustaining, providing financial benefit to their congregations even during the recent economic downturn.
Over 30 years ago, North Hills CRC opened their first preschool for community families, wanting to use their building more fully in kingdom work. At the same time, Olentangy CRC, Columbus, Ohio, did the same. Seven years ago, First CRC of Detroit, Grosse Pointe Park, Mich., turned what had previously been their Christian day school into God’s Kids preschool/daycare/summer day camp. And this fall Dearborn (Mich.) Christian Fellowship will follow suit by focusing on their preschool. As Dearborn pastor Daniel Jongsma put it, these child care ministries seek to “provide a much-needed service for families, build healthy relationships with young families in our community, and influence young children and families for Christ.”
Helen MacDonald, Grosse Pointe program administrator, notes another benefit: “Some families from the preschool have been attending worship services. Many new friendships have begun, which have provided support for our preschool families.”
At Olentangy CRC, only a few child care families have been added to the membership. But Margaret Kok, chair of the Olentangy Child Care Center board, pointed out, “The reason for the ministry is not ultimately the growth of the congregation. The reason for the ministry is to teach children and their parents about the love of God.”