New every morning is your love, great God of light, and all day long you are working for good in the world. Stir up in us desire to serve you, to live peacefully with our neighbors and all your creation, and to devote each day to your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

"A Liturgy for Morning Prayer," Upper Room Worshipbook

Used by permission from the Book of Common Worship, © 2018 Westminster John Knox Press. All rights reserved. This prayer appears in “A Liturgy for Morning Prayer” in Upper Room Worshipbook.

The Most Important Space in the Church

The Nursery

Rita B. Hays • July 2009

BUY Print $10.00

A strong children's ministry is the foundation for the future vitality of any church—whether it is a small family community or a robust neighborhood church.

In The Most Important Space in the Church, Rita Hays emphasizes that evangelism and spiritual formation begin in the nursery. It is in the nursery that many visitors first interact with church members and experience an outpouring of warmth and acceptance—known as radical hospitality.

By building a rich, spiritually rooted ministry with infants through two year olds and with their families, congregations establish a faith formation pattern that continues through all age levels. Hays presents both theological groundwork and practical applications for strengthening any church's ministry, beginning in the most important space—the nursery.

Rita B. Hays is a passionate advocate for ministries with children and has served as a United Methodist pastor to children for more than 20 years. She taught Christian education classes at Lindsey Wilson College in Kentucky. She has degrees from Mercer University, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

ISBN: 978-0-88177-568-6

Imprint: Discipleship Resources

Pub Date: July 2009

Trim Size: 6 in (w) x 9 in (h) x in (d)

Page Count: 128

BISAC Categories: RELIGION / Christian Ministry / Children

BISAC1: REL109020



"The Most Important Space in the Church is indeed a most important book. Dr. Rita Hays makes a unique, engaging and articulate case for why the nursery is a model of sacred space for the entire church. Reading this book will give you a paradigm shift regarding the care of a congregation's smallest members." --Terry Swan, Dean of the Chapel, Professor of Psychology and Religion, Lindsey Wilson College

"If every church in our denomination took seriously what Rita advocates in this book, I am confident that multitudes of our churches would find new life and growth! This book is an invaluable tool for any congregation that desires to truly be the Church! The insights offered here about how to practice radical hospitality are both practical and on target. If I were a local church pastor I would place this book on the must read list for all leaders in my church! --Bishop Al Gwinn, The United Methodist Church

Books by Rita B. Hays