In my last post about Children's Ministry resources around the web, I wrote about two wonderful sites filled with information, ideas and resources to help families with children with special needs and equip churches so they know how to serve them in the most effective ways. Today, I'd like to mention three more sites which will give you additional tools to help you serve this very important group of parents.
Diving for Pearls is written with the goal of helping children with special needs thrive at home, school and church. Katie Wetherbee shares her own story as a parent whose child had a stroke at the age of five and the long road through diagnosis, surgery, rehab and recovery. She shares her own experiences in a way sure to move your heart and open your eyes to the needs of families who experience these types of tremendously difficult situations. Her blog provides articles for church, articles for parents and will soon have free resources as well. Thank you Katie for sharing your powerful personal story and for providing resources to help others.
Church4EveryChild is written by Stephen Grcevich, MD with the mission of, "Building bridges between churches and families of kids with 'issues'". Posts cover topics including ADHD, Adoption, Anxiety Disorders, Autism, Families, Hidden Disabilities, Inclusion, Ministry Environments, Ministry Strategies, Parents, Pastoral Resources, Respite, Spiritual Development and more. Thank you Stephen for providing such a complete source for information so churches can be inclusive!
Katie and Stephen also work for Key Ministry, which believes "every child is a unique creation of God! Key Ministry believes children should belong to a church family. Sometimes disabilities can hinder this experience. This is especially true when a child has a hidden disability, one which is an emotional, behavioral, or developmental condition and has no outwardly apparent symptoms. Key Ministry's mission is to equip churches to welcome and include children and families affected by hidden disabilities in all aspects of the life of the church." Some of the areas Key Ministry is able to assist you with include the areas of training and Consulting and all of their services are absolutely free of charge.
If parents who have a child with special needs are not able to find support, encouragement and help at church among those who love Jesus, then where will they find it? We in the church must have a plan ready to implement so our ministries are welcoming and a place where families find they truly are able to experience Jesus' love in tangible ways. These sites will help your church develop just this type of ministry.