Ok, my wife and I have an ongoing debate about churches that run daycare centers.  Should churches run daycares?  Is it a valid outreach or does it help to contribute to parents choosing careers over children? 

By the way, we both recognize that daycare centers are needed for single-parent households, but they are not the only ones who benefit from daycare centers.

What say you?

39 comments
  1. I really dislike churches having daycares. I think that a better thing for single mothers would be to 1)help them work from home if possible 2) have a mother connection where women from the church (that have been screened) agree to watch a child or two in their own homes for mothers that really have no option to raise their own kids. This way the church would be emphasizing the God-given responsibilities of the parent, mothers that really need help could get it, and the church wouldn’t be responsible for encouraging people that are capable to ditch their kids with strangers.
    .-= Frances´s last blog ..Just Because It’s a Good Idea . . . =-.

      1. @Shane Vander Hart,

        It’s a good idea BUT many churches may not have enough mothers to do it. I know my church doesn’t. I’d rather see a church run a daycare while a mother has to work then to have my child raised in some other godless place learning who knows what. I’m not saying all non-Christian daycares are bad or that all Christian daycares are good but I’d rather take my chances with a church-hosted daycare.

  2. I have no problem with it. I think it is a fantastic option for those people that need it. I hate the thought that someone would think that just because the church offers a great alternative to traditional day care, that it contributes to the downfall of the family because it encourages either parent working outside the home.

    That kind of thinking seems to be passing the blame to an entity that is unfairly shouldered with that responsibility. That entity which ultimately provides more goodness than not.

    It is the parents that made that choice, not the church.

    I have never heard traditional day care’s attacked for contributing to the downfall of the family. What about those individuals who provide great care in their own home. Will you shun them as well? What about Sunday school? Does that contribute to separating the parents from the kids, with them not being a part of the sunday service?

    Besides the fact, if a church branches out and offers that service, why not finacially support an endevor that ultimately puts your money back into a Christian organization?

    While this is a poor example, it is like saying, just because Sanford had an affair all republicans are bad, or because the Catholic church had the horrible priest scandal, that all Christian’s are pediophiles.

    Even as a stay at home mom, we still use after school care for my seven year old with his karate school. I have a young one at home, but the oldest goes there for a couple hours after school each day. They have some homework time, some wind down time and three days a week his karate class. We are thankful to have this avenue for him over a traditional day care which is just a glorified baby sitter.

    I say this because not all families are choosing a career over their children use after school care. Sometimes Mom has doctor’s appointments or other important things to accomplish where it is so much easier to have after school care available. I think a church would be a great alternative for many families.

      1. @political jules, Oh, you’re fine. I didn’t think you were accusing me of that, but just wanted to make it clear that I wasn’t.

        I didn’t sense crankiness in your comment at all!

        I’m not anti-daycare for outreach/ministry purposes to meet real needs within the church and community.

        The larger question is how many families, even Christian ones, both work full-time when some sacrifice and/or creative scheduling would keep them from doing that? Not every family that says “we have to do this” really does. I know this because I was the sole provider for years as a youth pastor. It was hard, I worked a second job, but my wife was able to focus on the kids when they were very young. Now she works part-time, but at a time when I can be at home and she homeschools.

        Not saying everybody can do that, but I think people use the “we can’t afford this” excuse too much.

  3. Should churches run daycares? Why not? Who says that churches running daycares contributes to parents choosing their careers over their children? Who says there is something wrong with both parents working and having to put their child in daycare in order to get the bills paid and provide for their children?

    I used to be a single parent and I would have loved to have had the option of leaving my child in a church-ran daycare. I do believe it’s a great outreach to those that have that need. Why wouldn’t it be a positive place to take your kids to if you need that type of service?

    I think it’s up to each family to decide how to best care for their children and their families. If you are able to make the ultimate sacrifice and stay home with your children then that’s great! But, there are families out there that do not have the luxury of being able to stay home and care for their children.

    I say if the church would like to provide a place where parents can take their children then that’s an opportunity to feel blessed by. Not everybody has the chance to place their children in a safe environment that the church is able to provide.

    I do not agree with Frances whatsoever. I do; however, agree with what Political Jules had to share.

    1. @Angela (Domestic Divapalooza), certainly a church day care is better than a secular one.

      You wrote:

      Who says there is something wrong with both parents working and having to put their child in daycare in order to get the bills paid and provide for their children?

      That’s the rub – how many parents put kids in daycare in order to “provide” when if they made some sacrifices (of wants, not needs) so that a parent could be home in their formative years?

      I know some families truly have no choice, but then some families do.

      You don’t think Frances has some good ideas though? I think those are some out-of-the box ideas that could work in some situations.

      1. @Shane Vander Hart, I do think so as well.

        Shane said,
        “how many parents put kids in daycare in order to “provide” when if they made some sacrifices (of wants, not needs) so that a parent could be home in their formative years?”

        (response)
        I wonder if it is not so much about, the parent not willing to sacrifice some ‘wants’ to stay home, but just about believing in your heart that both parents working is the absolute best way be a parent and be a family.

        I believe especially the younger generation think this way, and they equate families with stay-at-home parents as right-wing Christian extremists. In their liberal mind, it would be beneath them to lower themselves for fear of being ridiculed by their peers.

        Especially young women. When they have been pressured since high school to be ambitious and smart and go to college to be just as powerful as any man. At that point, we have created an intelligent and hard working human, but we’ve done nothing to encourage her that a family is significantly more important.

        In fact, (while I am not a liberal, I did vote for Clinton once when I was young and dumb) if I had not been hit by that Holy 2X4 from God when DD was born disabled, I might STILL believe the status-quo that a two working parent family is best to get ahead in this world.

        I am not saying that was the reason she was born, but they say everything works for the greater Good of God. There are a multitude of lessons I am learning from my daughter, and one of them seems to be for me to understand how much better a family thrives when Mom is able to be at home on a regular basis. Even if that said family has to be dirt poor to do it.

        I think as our society leans more liberally we raise a generation of kids to think differently, and it may take that spiritural 2×4 to get it through to some people. However, I am afraid trying to tell them will do no good.
        .-= political jules´s last blog ..CEI Releases Global Warming Study Censored by EPA | CEI =-.

  4. It’s a valid outreach.

    If you have issues with the parenting/working decisions of the church’s membership, then the issue isn’t the presence of a daycare center, it’s the teaching.

    On the other hand, refusing to run one so as not to provide mixed messages leaves people who really don’t have other choices with nothing.

    Moreover, in some communities it is a good thing for the church to have opportunities to be a part of the community outside its membership … this could be one of those.

    Frances has a very good point … and I do think that the kind of networking solution she’s suggesting is even better, although it limits the possibilities unless there is a fairly large pool of available caretakers on call, for lack of a better term.
    .-= Wickle´s last blog ..Quickly on the “birthers” =-.

  5. I would have loved the option of church-run daycare when my daughter was little. The women who ran the summer camps and Sunday school were wonderful and if they offered year round daycare that would have been a lovely option. I was lucky that my mom was able to help. Having daycare is not why women work. Most women work because of financial necessity. Many couples can not make ends meet without a second income. I have always worked part-time, around my daughter’s school schedule, and just did emergency work when she was an infant.
    A beautiful, loving, church-run daycare center is a gift to the community!

    1. @Nina, I understand your point, but I’ve also seen families who say that when a little sacrifice could have prevented that. I’m not painting everybody with that brush though.

      A church-run daycare is certainly far better than a secular one.

  6. So, here’s how the discussion goes between husband and wife, members of the church running the day care center.

    Him: “Honey, I really think we need to consider you going back to work.”

    Her: “I really love being home with the kids”

    Him: “Yeah, but you absolutely love Mary and Suzy and what they do with the Sunday School for the kids. They are the ones running the day care.”

    Her: “Yeah, I guess your right. At least they’d be at a Christian day care center.”

    Anyone who believes that discussion won’t happen, is pretty naive. Church day care centers do encourage and facilitate both parents working full time out of the home.

  7. Is there really a choice to stay home anymore? I work out of the house, but I do not make enough income to support our family well. I want to, but alas following a calling and working in that calling do not pay my bills, and I do not exactly live a wealthy lifestyle. I could get a part time job and work 60 hours a week away from home and neglect my relationship with my son and my wife could be a lonely spouse… hmmm…

    Let’s flip this question a little bit though. Should a church run a Senior home? Or does it contribute to children not taking care of their parents like they should? How do you define taking care of a child/parent?

    Every system will have someone who abuses it. At the wonderful care center my son attends (church based) there are parents who drop children at the earliest moment and pick them up at closing time. They do not work 12 hour days I am pretty sure… that is abusive. But what about those who need 4 hours a day because of work schedules that are willy nilly?
    .-= Carl Holmes´s last blog ..Tim Keel =-.

    1. @Carl Holmes, It certainly is possible… for the first seven years of my oldest daughter’s life I was the sole provider… and I was a youth pastor. I worked a second job, and we sacrificed a lot of “wants.” It wasn’t ideal (working a second job), but it can done.

      You do make a good point with your question though.

      I’m actually not anti-church daycare provided it’s a ministry, not a means for financial solvency. The example that you give is what my wife saw all of the time at a public school’s daycare center she worked at (she’s the one who is anti-daycare) part-time. That was more of the norm.

  8. So the underlying assumption is that it is not acceptable for both parents to work outside the home. The only question is whether or not it’s appropriate for churches to engage in programming that may or may not contribute to that.

    I missed the memo where the first question was answered once and for all time.

    I’ll pay more attention next time.

    (Might work out ok since I’m losing my job anyway, right?)

    🙂

    1. @Lyla Lindquist, You would agree that it is ideal to have a parent at home when the children are pre-school age right? The underlying assumption is that it would be the best situation for the child.

      We were members of a church that it seemed like the women’s ministries were geared toward those who did work outside the home, and that was pretty frustrating.

      Who is ultimately responsible for raising kids? I think the Bible is pretty clear about that.

      But I’m not against duel incomes, but I get tired of seeing families who could get by with less don’t and seem to sacrifice kids for careers.

      But, I’m not judging those who do. By the way, my wife does work part-time, but for the first seven years of my oldest daughter’s life she didn’t. I was a youth pastor. We sacrificed. So it can be done, but I also recognize it is necessary many cases.

      Certainly a Christ-centered daycare is better than a non-Christian one.

      Perhaps I should have started off with the first question you bring up.

      Also full-disclosure, it is actually my wife who is anti-church daycare (and any daycare for that matter). That position was solidified in her mind when she worked in a daycare. Definitely not the ideal because nobody is going to love your child more than Mom and Dad.

      I’m comfortable with churches that have daycare centers for ministry purposes, especially to help out low income families.

      1. @Shane Vander Hart, My kids are both out of daycare-age at this point, so it’s not an immediate decision for us. I was a full time youth director for my church at the time our first child was born. I cut back my hours and made arrangements to bring my son with me during my office hours when I worked alone for study and prep, and arrangements with church families to care for him during activities that were not conducive to having an infant along (unless my husband was able to care for him at the same time). Curiously, after a month or so of this working out well for everyone, it was met with opposition by the senior pastor and I had to make alternate arrangements — ie daycare in the home of a friend — so I could continue to serve in church ministry.

        I did continue to work while both my sons were small, and we also ran a business out of our home which we worked after they were asleep at night in order to make ends meet. I think ultimately that while we can have a lot of ideal scenarios and preferences, this is a decision for each family to make with God’s guidance. Looking back I’m not convinced it was the wrong call for us (though we’ve clearly committed all kinds of other parenting sins and blunders along the way).

  9. Not only am I in favor of churches running daycare centers I think they should have schools too…I believe that alternative a much needed in our society for parents who A. Have to work and B. want a Christian environment for their children to be educated in and while they are at work.
    .-= Mel´s last blog ..What If? & 129/365 =-.

    1. @Mel, I’m ok with Christian school provided their affordable. Often times their not.

      I agree with you on A… that begs the question how many families do daycare when they don’t really have to if they make some sacrifices?

      1. @Shane Vander Hart, I am not disagreeing that daycare can be used as a place to shuttle kids but my A is for families that have not choice but to work for whatever reason.

        You are correct on Church schools needing to be affordable to meet the need, the one i wanted to send my 2 youngest too, has sort of affordable tuition monthly but their enrollment fee tops $1100.

        Anyway I think the idea behind church based daycares and schools is wonderful because of the atmosphere. I do agree if at all possible that a parent should stay home, but again that is not always feasible.
        .-= Mel´s last blog ..What If? & 129/365 =-.

  10. I would much rather have my child in a Church daycare than a state daycare. Obviously I would prefer that I be the one primarily parenting my child, but if I had to take them to daycare for a couple hours a day, I would want it to be a safe loving environment. The ideal situation is that I get to be a stay at home mom, or at least a mom who gets to work from home or another situation which allows me to be a full time mom. Unfortunately the ideal is not always available.
    .-= Liberty Belle´s last blog ..Hey guys, lets get some "sources" shall we? =-.

  11. Have to be careful about it, but it would be a very useful tool, especially in conjunction with a church school.

    It would have to be very carefully nurtured to make sure that “one bad apple” syndrome didn’t make it as bad as normal daycare– both for the “my child is perfect, anything he does is good” side and the “this is a job, which I hate, nothing more” side.

    I think a volunteer style daycare or “child care exchange” kinda thing might be a better option– parents trade off watching each other’s kids. This lets the parents choose whose watching their kids– I really don’t want my kids raised by my husband’s aunt, hearing how poorly behaved her kids are– and avoids possible tax problems.
    .-= Foxfier´s last blog ..Via Jordan179 =-.

  12. Whether a church is running the day care OR not… the parents need to figure out the best placement for their child. I am strictly going under the assumption that there are parents that are doing the best that they can to make a good life for their children whether it be to stay at home with them OR to work.

    Many families do not have these options and they are sacrificing and living within their means. I am not going to sit back and judge. It’s none of my business. I stay at home and yes, we sacrifice and we go without in order for me to be able to stay home but I am not going to sit back and pick apart parents that are working to try and figure out who is sacrificing and who isn’t.

    As far as church day cares go… just because the daycare is running out of a church doesn’t mean that is the best place for your child either. And just because people go to church and worship on Sunday doesn’t mean they have Christ in mind when they are going about their business day in and day out.

    There are excellent day cares that run away from church property too. Outreach is outreach. You don’t tell somebody they can’t find a corner inside of a homeless shelter to sleep in because you think they just got done smoking a pipe. You do whatever you can to help them… right?

    Frances doesn’t say why she really dislikes churches having day cares.

    The mothers that really need help should be able to get it in the best way possible for their child whether it be via a church day care OR not.

    The God-given responsibilities of the parent is to raise their child up to know the Lord. I know Frances isn’t saying that church day cares should never be an option.

    Furthermore, a church that has a daycare and a school or both… is in no way saying that all parents who choose to work because they have to are ditching their kids with strangers.

    I think Frances needs to sit back and think about this situation for a minute. What would Jesus do?

    A church day care is not necessarily better than a secular one Shane. When we start talking like that it’s no wonder people don’t want anything to do with “Christians” or “Christ Followers.”
    .-= Angela (Domestic Divapalooza)´s last blog ..We the People Stimulus Package =-.

    1. @Angela (Domestic Divapalooza), I agree that it isn’t necessarily better – there can be some crappy church-based daycares and their can be fantastic staff at a secular daycare.

      I am operating under the premise that this is a church-based daycare that is adequately staffed that is Christ-centered with staff that are screened, well-trained, and safe.

      Also, I didn’t mean to exclude Christian daycares that don’t meet on church property.

      I’m not sitting and judging trying to determine who should and who shouldn’t. Ultimately parents are responsible and accountable to God for their parenting decisions.

      You and I both know though there is a mindset in our culture that is all about pursuing $$ and career at the expense of family. We just need to be careful that as Christ-followers we are not emulating that.

  13. I am a stay at home mom, but that did not come from a strong belief that moms should be home with their kids. My mom worked, so I really did not know any different. It was expected that I would go to college and have a career. While slightly dysfunctional she always told me not to get married, but she was raised in the 60’s and part of that women’s revolution.

    So I was a nurse for 17 years before I was pregnant with my first child. I went back to work because we were poor. Three years later pregnant with our second, and a test and sonogram revealed she might have cystic fibrosis. About a month later I was laid off from my job as a nurse educator. Wow. What a shock.

    So we decided we would be a stay at home mom kind of family. When she was born it turned out, not only did she have cf, but she has Down’s syndrome as well.

    The first few years were really hard with us in and out of the hospital while trying to make it on one salary, but we did not have a choice. I was not leaving my baby in a hospital alone. My oldest was in after school care because it was the only thing we could do. The youngest is much healthier now and will be five soon. I am still a stay at home mom to care for her and our son, but it has been the hardest thing I have ever done. People mistakenly believe it is all crafts and roses as a SAHM, but I am here to confess it is not at all like that.

    I am not complaining, it is just vastly different than I expected it to be. The money situation was the hardest to adjust to, and we never seem to catch up with the bills. But we do just fine. We’ve taken some small family vacations and never really do without.

    But I can tell you that, in general, society favors women that work and feel they need more support because “bless their hearts” they have a career and kids.

    Just like what you said Shane about the church catering more toward working women. The entirety of society thinks that way and stay at home mom’s become the silent minority. When in reality it is the stay at home moms probably need the most support.

    So I think I veered off topic a bit, but I wanted to give yall a perspective from this particular stay at home mom.
    .-= political jules´s last blog ..CEI Releases Global Warming Study Censored by EPA | CEI =-.

  14. Good thought provoking comments, especially the comment by Carl Holmes about Senior care.
    What about elderly parents? I am fortunate that my sister and brother live in the city of my parents and care for them, but one of the things my parents enjoyed when they were more mobile (they’re in their mid 90’s!) was the Senior club at the church. It was for mobile Seniors, and older members that need care and assistance just stop attending. My parents did so much to build the church, and although there is certainly love and support, I am sad that they don’t have many opportunities to get together with their friends. Yes, most have died, but there still are some. They get excellent care from my sister and brother, but they miss the spiritual life of the church. Church based care, can be a wonderful spirititual and social life- either for pre-schoolers or Seniors.

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