Friday, February 27, 2015

A Place for Special Needs Ministry

Disclosure: I am proud to be a Family Christian Blogger and Affiliate.  I was provided with a Family Christian certificate to facilitate a post about Special Needs Ministry.  All opinions expressed are my own.

You know something?  Growing up I wanted to be a teacher.  I actually wanted to be a Special Education teacher.  People with Special Needs have had a tender part of my heart - they want what we all want - to belong and be loved.

One of my closest friends has a daughter with Spina Bifida.  I remember getting her call that day when she found out the diagnosis so clearly.  Throughout her pregnancy I read every book on Spina Bifida that I could get my hands on (really I did, I am an avid reader).  I shared with her things that I thought might be good to know and I prayed.  Our whole community prayed.  And God showed up!  D's friend (she's actually all of my kids' friend but she is closest in age to D) still has Spina Bifida but I do believe that God has been with her and her family on this journey.

I recently picked up two books at Family Christian about Special Needs, Special Needs Ministry for Children by Pat Verbal and In Jesse's Shoes by Beverly Lewis.

I have been thinking a lot about how churches could help families of those with Special Needs?  How can we make families of those with special needs feel welcomed and loved in our churches?  I think one step is to be open and informed.

I really liked In Jesse's Shoes for talking with my own kids about children with who are different or disabled.  It is a short, simple and sweet book about a girl discovering her brother and what life is like having a brother with special needs.  Jesse is "wired differently" and acts differently than other kids his age.  This book encourages children to not make fun or tease others that are different but instead look at things from their perspective and befriend them.

I think I will take this to my church's library so that others can access it when needed and it can be shared with our entire community.  I like the idea of having this as a resource for children.

While In Jesse's Shoes is an excellent children's book for sharing about those with special needs, Special Needs Ministry for Children by Pat Verbal discusses more application.  Specifically this book discusses how to create a welcoming atmosphere and place for families whose children have special needs.  I think this is a fabulous resource in giving practical advice in how to have a special needs ministry in a church.  Parenting is crazy fun but it can also be crazy hard.  Sometimes families with children with special needs can be overlooked.  I love the idea of churches embracing and welcoming families with children with special needs.

What do you think?  Do you have ideas for how churches could make it easier for families with special needs children?  I would love to hear them!


SavingsInSeconds said...

It must have been so comforting for your friend that you took such an active interest in knowing more about spina bifida. Our former church had an excellent special needs ministry; it was a wonderful way to show the love of Jesus to the parents as much as the kids.

Kathryn said...

Thanks Dede! How awesome that your church has an excellent special needs ministry.

LauraHix said...

what a great ministry opportunity

Randi said...

What a great post! Having a child with autism, I can say that it can be very isolating. Intentional or not, we can often feel judged and even unwelcome...even among churches (never mind the sensory issues that make these things hard anyway!). It is amazing just how much a simple attitude of understanding and acceptance can help! I am going to have to look for In Jesse's Shoes...we love having books like these for cousins, friends, etc