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Tots and Toys

Every Thursday morning Cornerstone Church Nottingham run an evangelistic parent and toddler group. Called ‘Tots and Toys’, Kathryn Jackson explains how it links in with other activities of the church and the fruit they have seen from it in its first three years.

Tots and Toys primary image

Mum-of-three Tiffany eventually came along to Tots and Toys after repeated invites from a friend. Now she and her husband Andy have given their lives to Christ and were baptised at Cornerstone in 2014.

So how did our parent and toddler group lead to this great gospel opportunity?

Well, we make sure Tots and Toys is warm, welcoming and high-quality with clean toys, homemade cakes and freshly brewed coffee. When Tiffany came along she was amazed by the warmth and hospitality at Tots and Toys and began to wonder if there might be something different about the people running it.

toddlers

We have a fantastic team of volunteers who set-up, welcome people, prepare craft activities and tell Bible stories – next term we’ll be telling the story of creation over 6 weeks.

One week a couple of people briefly shared their testimony with Tiffany after the story slot and she was intrigued. She then came along to our Kids Carol Service and enjoyed it. Soon after Tiffany began to bring the children to church on Sunday mornings.

Our hope and prayer is that Tots and Toys might prove to be the first step for others like Tiffany, on a journey that leads to a commitment to Christ.

Commitment to prayer

Knowing that the task of winning souls is the Holy Spirit’s rather than ours, we aim to pray each Thursday morning before Tots and Toys begins and to have a termly team prayer meeting in which we pray specifically for the non-church parents and children who come. 

Seeking to make the most of all the opportunities that are open to share the gospel we also give all the children a book about the nativity at Christmas and we give each child who leaves for school or pre-school a copy of the Jesus Storybook Bible at their last session.

preparing the refreshments

This year on a couple of occasions we also offered books to any adults who wanted to take them, including Rico Tice’s book A Very Different Christmas as well as copies of Easter Uncut by Carl Laferton.

We know that for many people the leap from a Thursday morning toddler group to a Sunday morning service is just too huge so we aim to plug the Tots and Toys families into other low key evangelistic events at church. You can find out more about our craft evenings here.

Most of the parents who come to Tots and Toys are mums but there are a handful of dads and grandparents as well, so we run something called “Dad Club” once a month on a Saturday morning. It’s a more blokey version of Tots and Toys with bacon butties instead of cake. Encouragingly, we have seen some dads coming to that whose partners come to Tots and Toys.

Building bridges

We also try to advertise upcoming evangelistic events so we have to be organised with flyers ready well in advance, along with a looped PowerPoint presentation with the times of our weekly services as well as short spoken notices at the end of story time.

Tots and Toys has been running for just over three years and we have seen a huge range of different people coming and engaging with the church beyond our toddler group. Tiffany’s story is so encouraging because it’s led to the whole family getting rooted into church life.

toddlers playing

After Tiffany started attending on a Sunday with the children, her husband Andy was initially delighted with the free time to go running or cycling. But eventually he began coming along to church too and we baptised them both.

Since then, Tiffany’s been busy inviting members of her extended family to church events and we are starting to see God work there too. It’s been great to see Tiffany (who’s now a mum of 4) and Andy seeking to raise their children in the knowledge of the Lord.

Praise God for his good work in their lives.

Kathryn Jackson photo
Kathryn Jackson

Kathryn is the Families Worker at Cornerstone Church in Nottingham. She is married to Jonathan and has two children, Hattie and Seb. Kathryn taught History for 11 years before working for Cornerstone.