Aug 27, 2013

7 "Must Knows" When Ministering to Kids with Special Needs

This past weekend I had the joy of baptizing a young lady.  While I was backstage waiting with the family, they told me their story.

Their older son has autism.  They had tried attending a few churches, but no one was prepared to minister to their son.  The churches wanted to, but they simply didn't have a special needs ministry in place.

One day they were in a laundry mat and they begin talking to a lady who attends our church.  The lady invited them to come with their son.  They came and for the first time, they found a place that was ready to minister to their entire family including their son.

With tears in his eyes, the father shared with me how their lives have been changed and what a difference Christ has made in their home.  Their son has also made tremendous progress as our volunteers have loved him and poured into his life.

Stories like this remind me how vital special needs ministry is in the local church.  I've heard stats that say up to 90% of families who have children with special needs do not attend church.  I believe the biggest reason is because churches are not intentional about reaching out to these precious families and are not prepared to meet their needs.

If you do not have a special needs ministry, I want to encourage you to begin one.  In the video below, our special needs director, Alicia Szuka, shares 7 tips about ministering to children with special needs.

She also started a therapeutic horseback riding ministry for children with special needs.  Each Saturday, dozens of families bring their children to participate.  You can read more about our special needs ministry at this link.

Alicia has two daughters with special needs.  You will meet her daughter, Cynthia, in the video.  Cynthia has cerebral palsy.  She is an amazing young lady who can't be stopped.  She has graduated from college, collected and donated over 10,000 wheelchairs to kids and adults with special needs, writes curriculum for children, and much more.  She's even been skydiving!

Two people who are helping lead the way in special needs ministry are:

Amy Fenton Lee - Her book Leading A Special Needs Ministry: A Practical Guide to Including Children and Loving Families serves as a practical "how-to" handbook for the ministry team working to welcome 1 or 100 children with special needs.  You can purchase the book at this link.

Craig Johnson serves on staff at Lakewood Church in Houston where he started an incredible special needs ministry called Champion's Club.  God is also using him to help churches across the country begin special needs ministries.  You can read more about Craig's ministry at this link.

Since then, Champions Clubs for Special Needs, which are state of the art development facilities and programs, were launched first at Lakewood Church and are now in churches and communities across America. Champions Academy Charter Schools for Special Needs are planning to be launched in the near future; a private school experience at a public school price. Connor’s story has and is being shared all over the world to give kids and families hope that their child too has a purpose. - See more at: http://connormoments.com/about-our-ministry/#sthash.avWY2fKO.dpuf
Since then, Champions Clubs for Special Needs, which are state of the art development facilities and programs, were launched first at Lakewood Church and are now in churches and communities across America. Champions Academy Charter Schools for Special Needs are planning to be launched in the near future; a private school experience at a public school price. Connor’s story has and is being shared all over the world to give kids and families hope that their child too has a purpose. - See more at: http://connormoments.com/about-our-ministry/#sthash.avWY2fKO.dpuf
Since then, Champions Clubs for Special Needs, which are state of the art development facilities and programs, were launched first at Lakewood Church and are now in churches and communities across America. Champions Academy Charter Schools for Special Needs are planning to be launched in the near future; a private school experience at a public school price. Connor’s story has and is being shared all over the world to give kids and families hope that their child too has a purpose. - See more at: http://connormoments.com/about-our-ministry/#sthash.avWY2fKO.dpuf
Since then, Champions Clubs for Special Needs, which are state of the art development facilities and programs, were launched first at Lakewood Church and are now in churches and communities across America. Champions Academy Charter Schools for Special Needs are planning to be launched in the near future; a private school experience at a public school price. Connor’s story has and is being shared all over the world to give kids and families hope that their child too has a purpose. - See more at: http://connormoments.com/about-our-ministry/#sthash.avWY2fKO.dpuf

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