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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Special Needs ministry

William and I have felt for some time that God is calling us to start a special needs ministry in our area. We are gathering information and praying for guidance on where to go with this. We know that families with disabled members usually don't make it and the divorce rate in this group is 80% or more. We also know that 80% of families with an individual affected by disability are unchurched. I really think that if we as churches do something about that then the divorce rate would most certainly improve in this "unreached people group." Missionaries travel the world to reach "unreached people groups" and we have a huge one living in our very own communities. So why are these families unchurched? From my own experience the churches are simply not meeting their most basic needs for accessibility and understanding. In short they are not meeting them where they are and not even trying to find out how they can help. So what does a family affected with disability need in a church? Well that all depends on the nature of the disability and the needs and personality of every member of that family. This is why no one gets anywhere, how do you prepare for the unknown? The answer lies in scripture. Paul said he was all things to all men so that they could know the love of Christ Jesus. And in Matthew Jesus said that in order to enter the kingdom of Heaven we must become like the little children and those who cause these little ones to stumble might as well have a millstone on their neck and be tossed into the ocean. Now that I think of it, that is exactly how I felt when I was not being met where I was at church, I felt like I was drowning in despair. If the very people who are the temple of the living God are not sharing that love with these families where can they go? The world out there is certainly not going to sustain these most blessed families. God's strength is made perfect in weakness and a person with a disability illustrates God's perfect grace in everyday life. Check out this link on how one church is making a difference in this area.

2 comments:

Jenny said...

This comment was from Razin5, but I accidentally rejected it and now blogger won't let me go back and allow it, so I copied and pasted. Razin5, if you see this please leave another comment and I should be able to contact you through that or you can e-mail me at seanandkaty@yahoo.com. There has been a group formed here in central Alabama just for this. It is called the Special Needs Ministry Network of Central Alabama. It is a quarterly meeting for church staff and laypeople to get together with people around the state to discuss the need for, the how to implement, and encourage each other on the journey to having a special needs ministry. You can find more info about this by contacting Joel Wallace at Briarwood Presbyterian church.

From One Busiest Mom in America to another.... I have 5 kids, my oldest has ADHD and Autism ( PDD-NOS), My 2nd ADD, the other 3 probaby some blend of ADHD- too young to diagnose yet. I too am being led to start a Special Needs Children's Ministry program at my local church, and also agree with the scripture you've posted. I found a great resource book by Joni Tada called Special Needs Smart Pages, by Group Publishing. I would love to connect with you, and see what steps you are taking in your ministry. Our church has a current Kids program of 25 kids- 3 Diagnosed with different special needs, 3 others I suspect have some needs.

Anonymous said...

I have been praying over starting a special needs ministry at my church for the past 5 years. In that time I have been waiting for someone else to fulfill this need. I now have a 13 year old son with MMR, aka intellectual disability.He was diagnosed in preschool. I have spent many years of his life discouraged and very alone in this journey. I am slowly realizing that I am not alone. It is encouraging to hear your heart and your story. I am excited to see the Lord work as we move in faith to use ALL things in our life to glorify HIM. Bless you!