I’ve got a confession: toddler groups have saved my sanity.

I’ve got three children and have spent many hours in toddler groups. They are the places where I’ve learnt that it’s okay not to be okay, a  place where I’ve discussed my fears, shared my joy, laughed, cried and survived motherhood.

We can be so keen to draw people into the building, we forget to introduce them to the reason the church is there in the first place

But I remember that moment, walking into a church hall for the first time, wondering what to do with myself and the relief when someone walks over and says ‘hello’. Even if you’re a church-goer, it can be scary to join a new toddler group, so imagine how much more daunting it must seem if church is an unfamiliar space for you.

It’s so important to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere where people feel at home as soon as they step inside. In this way, toddler groups can provide an amazing opportunity to welcome the local community. Mums, dads, and carers look to the church for this provision, but in my experience sometimes we can be so keen to draw people into the building, we forget to introduce them to the reason the church is there in the first place. We inadvertently create a great divide between the loving atmosphere we nurture in the group, and the surface-level teaching that we then offer for fear of sounding ‘too Christian’…

The realisation of this divide between aims and practice was what catalysed the creation of the Little Worship Company Bible Curriculum. This brand-new resource is written to help churches start parents on a journey of faith, taking them on a journey to ‘discover God together’.

The aim is to help children know and understand their identity in God.

The curriculum is based on a new DVD series and online app called the Little Worship Company, which parents can watch and engage with at home. Made by an ex-CBeebies team, the programme is hosted by colourful puppets, Hal and his parents, Mr and Mrs Looyah, who take children on a journey to discover more about the God who made them and loves them using worship songs and Bible verses. The aim is to help children know and understand their identity in God, and the curriculum helps you gently introduce these themes into your toddler group, bringing your group with you along the way.

The team behind Little Worship Company are passionate about taking children and families on a journey of faith, with home devotionals for children and their grown-ups, helping whole families discover more about God.

When you never finish an adult conversation because someone needs a wee or your child has fallen over, you wonder what Jesus can use you...

As a church community, it’s really encouraging to know that these resources can equip us to build toddler groups that introduce people to Jesus. But what can we also do as individuals to witness to Jesus ourselves?

My children are now older and I’ve sadly left that toddler group stage. There are different challenges we face as a family, but the challenge given to us by Jesus to “make disciples” is still the same (Matthew 28). In every season, we need to be brave, step out of our comfort zone, and use what we have in our hands for his glory. But I know when your hands are full with small children, half eaten biscuits and baby wipes, we may feel like we don’t have much room left to give. When you never finish an adult conversation because someone needs a wee or your child has fallen over, you wonder how Jesus can use you…

So next time you’re at a toddler group and see a new person, introduce them to others in the group, help them make new friends, show them where to get coffee and hang their coat, but don’t miss the opportunity to introduce them to Jesus too.

To be in with a chance of winning the Little Worship Company DVD boxset, enter your details here, and use the competition code ‘DISCIPLES’. The competition closes on 30th June 2019.