Monday, February 17, 2014

How Does Your Children's Ministry Support Parents With Special Needs Children?

When it comes to family ministry and being intentional and effective in your family ministry; do you stop to think about your ministry to families where they have a child with special needs? Does your children's ministry provide the support and encouragement these parents need? Loretta Baughan wrote a powerful and thought provoking post on Modern Day Eugenics on her blog, STRAIGHT4ward with Loretta Baughan. Please take a moment to read this post and then consider the following . . . 
  • What are you doing to communicate the value of all babies, children and adults? Are you intentional about taking every opportunity to teach and show just as God loves all of us, you also made the choice to do the same? Do you make opportunities to stand for the value of all life?
  • When a parent receives the difficult news their child will be born with challenges; what do you do to come alongside these parents and walk with them through the many decisions they will need to make. How do you support, encourage and help these parents? What do you do to make sure these parents know they are not alone?
  • What do you do to walk with a parent as they raise their exceptionally challenged child? Do you provide a support base for the parents? Do you make sure these valued children are welcome in your children's ministry? Do you educate and train volunteers so they know how to best engage these children as they enter and move through your children's ministry?
What is your plan? If you do not have one, you will not only be unprepared when a family in your ministry faces this "road", but you will miss out on the opportunity to show to a watching world your ministry is real and it lives what it teaches . . . this being, just as "Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world", so do you!

1 comment:

  1. We have a classroom for children's with special needs called Won by One. We believe that children have the right to learn at a level they can understand which is why we started this ministry about 9 years ago. This environment has secure doors so children can not escape - fun learning stations, a stage for worship and teaching and covers a wide range of special needs and ages.
    Out of this ministry we have birthday our Luke 14 Banquet that we have annually on February 14th for the past 5 years. This is a night where families who have been touched by disabilities, as well as adults in group homes and their caregivers get to come out for an evening of red carpet treatment which includes a nice catered meal, entertainment, dancing and so much more all for free. This year we had almost 800 guests in attendance and more than 380 volunteers in three locations. It is a wonderful night for guests and volunteers alike. Another thing we have started out of this ministry is a Respite Care for families. Kids with special needs and their typically developing siblings can come for a four hour block of time filled with arts and crafts, movies, games, food and so much more while the parents get a nice needed break to rest, shop or do whatever they need to do, free of children.
    I wish every church would realize how important reaching the special needs community is - they are the largest unreached group in America. With stats like 80% of marriages with special need children in the house end in divorce, we as a church need to wake up and make a difference. Even if we give them just one hour a week to worship together as husband and wife - it is a start to allow God to work on their marriage and their lives.