Child Care Outreach Booming

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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.”

About the Author

Anita Ensing Beem is a freelance news correspondent for The Banner. Retired director of education and outreach at North Hills CRC in Troy, Mich., she now resides in Grand Rapids, Mich., and is a member of First CRC.

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Comments

I love this article and have a passion for serving our community through a childcare program as well.  I love what Margaret Kok pointed out, the reason for the ministry is to plant seeds of God's love in the children and families we serve.  Ultimately we would like to see our families attending Church, but along with that it's watching children who might not otherwise hear God's word, praying and hearing Bible stories, and taking that piece of their day home with them, and sharing it with others.  Thanks for highlighting the childcare ministry within our church's.    Kim Mulder

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