No, ministering to families who have children
with special needs is not an option.
Just as special needs children have varied needs, the ministries
to them can be just as varied. Here’s how to get started.
Pray. Encourage church prayer groups to include
those with disabilities as part of their weekly prayer requests.
Pray for a compassionate director who’ll feel called to lead the
Provide leadership. Recruit a special needs
council to research and set policies, create an annual calendar,
and plan a budget.
Kids LOVE these Sunday School resources!
Create a purpose statement. The Golden Hills
Community Church of Brentwood, California, has a powerful purpose
statement for their disability ministry: “To make disciples within
the disabled community by demonstrating Christ’s love and equipping
the congregation to minister to their special needs so that all
might fellowship, worship, and serve.”
Build awareness. Every church can build
awareness about people with special needs. Adults and children must
be taught compassion for those with disabilities. Leaders such as
Carol Tolson, the director of Count Me In! Ministries in Akron,
Ohio, understand that their toughest job is getting their message
out. “Accessibility begins in the heart,” Carol says. That sounds
like a great theme for a Disability Awareness Sunday.
Involve children. During vacation Bible school
last summer at Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas,
special needs coordinator Sue Lindahl decorated two wheelchairs
with pink and blue streamers and balloons. On the first day of VBS,
children saw a video about children and adults who don’t have the
gift of mobility. The boys and girls cheered when they raised
$1,600 for Wheels for the World — a recycling program that
collects, restores, and distributes wheelchairs to needy people
around the world.