All God’s Children - Disabilities Ministry
The vision of this ministry has been, from the very beginning, about relationship. Creating a sense of community where ALL people feel welcome and loved regardless of their abilities and/or special needs. I think our mission statement says it well:
The heart of this ministry is that every child of God be given equal opportunity to hear who Jesus is, worship Him confidently and share the gift of who they are (just as they are!) with the rest of the church body!
Even the most well intentioned people can have a hard time with inclusion when they don’t have “all the facts” though. For example, most of the children we work with have very different ways of communicating a need; often times at a much higher volume than we are accustomed to in our Sunday school classrooms. For a parent bringing their child to class this might be a little unnerving (and even a bit overwhelming) especially when they aren't aware of the blessings that are taking place within the walls of that classroom!
Several weeks ago I was able to spend three hours of my Sunday morning with two very special boys. At one point a little girl in the Sunday school room asked me what was wrong with one of the boys. I said "Absolutely nothing is wrong sweetie! God just made him..." and she cut me off: "God just made him a little different than others. And you know what teacher? That's okay!" She spent the rest of the hour smiling shyly at him every chance she got. That sweet girl and her family are new to our church...that was her first day in the Sunday school room. During worship, I noticed the other little girls in the class moving away from her and whispering about her being the new girl. She told me a little later, with tears in her eyes, that no one would play with her. But then...she was blessed by the welcoming smile of a special boy who God created to be JUST THE WAY HE IS! Made my heart sing.
Every single family within the church body needs to hear these stories. They need to know that their children are learning to love like Jesus by being in the classroom with these children who I believe Jesus would be just simply showering with His love! Maybe the community as a whole needs to hear these stories. What if these precious children, that God created to be JUST AS THEY ARE, could help bridge a gap in YOUR community? Gives me chills…
Let’s realize that God has called us into this ministry and that He is capable of using us for His glory…and for the purpose of bringing every single child to His loving arms! Our “jobs” within this ministry consist of so much more than just following a sweet child around the classroom for an hour or so. We can be advocating for them, for their families and helping to make true inclusion a reality!
I decided to write this because my heart is for these families, but also because my heart is for YOUR family. Even if you personally are not affected by special needs…someone you know is. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, DO NOT THINK YOU ARE NOT QUALIFIED! I’ll let you in on a little secret (shhh): I have no special needs training and/or education. None. I previously had very little experience working with special needs children/adults. Since beginning this ministry (with two super incredible ladies who have since become two of my closest friends!) I have read a few books, listened to a few seminars on the web, asked people who have more experience than I have for advice and…PRAYED!
Will you commit to praying with me? And walking where the Lord leads you? And realizing that you don’t have to be qualified or capable because He is? I would be honored to continue in this journey with you...wherever you are!
“God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called!” –Unknown