Genesis 1:27 “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. “
There can be no separate church for those with special needs.
Disability - label shared by a diverse group of people who experience substantial difficulties in several major life activities: mobility, self-care, language, socialization, learning or independent living
People with disabilities do not want to be known by their label. The are so much more than their label and have many gifts to offer. Labels tend to conceal gifts.
People often don’t know what to say or do when they meet an individual with special needs. They don’t understand that people with special needs are more like them than different. People tend to fear what they do not know. Older generations were not exposed to people with significant special needs. They were often hidden away in institutions. Younger generations have more exposure due to educational inclusion efforts.
In our own spiritual journey - in the Word and our relationship with our Lord & Savior and the Holy Spirit - the goal is we become more Christ-like. Jesus was filled with compassion and exhibited love to those with special needs. He healed many and cured some but not all need healing or to be cured. They do need to know God, to hear His word and to feel His love. Let us be His hands and His feet. Let us show all the world His compassion and love.
Ministry with Individuals with Special Needs and Their Families
Heavenly Father, Bless this journey into ministry to and with those with special needs and their families. Help us to let them know of Your love and saving grace. Direct us in ways which bring them and their gifts into our faith communities to faithfully serve You. In all ways, & all things, we ask you to provide us with the guidance we need & the resources to use to serve with them. Above all, may all we do glorify Your Holy Name. Amen.
“ The greatest suffering is being lonely, feeling unloved, just having no one. I have come to realize more and more that being unwanted is the worst disease that any human being can ever experience. For all kinds of diseases, there are medication and cures, but for being unwanted, unless there are willing hands to serve and loving hearts to love, I don't think this terrible disease can ever be cured. ”
They need love, understanding and acceptance for themselves and their child/relative with special needs
They have stressors beyond the family with typically developing children/relatives – frequent trips to various specialists, more frequent hospitalizations, frequent evaluations and therapies, behavior issues, dealing with the system(s)
The family of an individual with special needs should only be used as consultants to gain information that may be helpful, insights into the learning style of the individual or to help with behavior issues
Respect their right to privacy and the privacy of the individual with special needs
What you learn about an individual or family should only be shared on as need to know basis AFTER asking if the information can be shared to help the individual.
“ Don’t pray for my healing. Don’t be presumptuous enough to assume in your prayers that I should become like you. Pray for yourselves, that you become aware of your own limitations as I have had to become aware of mine. Then we can become a community of faith.”
*Special Needs, Special Ministry by J. Pierson, L.T. Jones & P. Verbal
“ Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”