Key Ministry Church Board Presentation Fall 2009

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Presentation to share with senior pastors, church board members when seeking to launch special needs ministry.

Presentation to share with senior pastors, church board members when seeking to launch special needs ministry.

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  • 1. Embracing Children with Special Emotional/Behavioral Needs and Their Families: Responding to God’s Call Stephen Grcevich, MD President, Board of Directors Key Ministry Foundation Fall, 2009 Key Ministry Foundation, 8401 Chagrin Road, Suite 14B, Chagrin Falls, OH 44023 Rebecca Hamilton, Executive Director (440) 708-4488, [email_address] Stephen Grcevich, MD, President (440) 543-3400, [email_address] Web: www.keyministry.org
  • 2. What are “Hidden Disabilities”?
    • A hidden disability (HD) is a serious emotional, behavioral or developmental disorder with no outwardly apparent physical symptoms
    Key Ministry Foundation
  • 3. Examples of Hidden Disabilities:
    • Autism, autistic spectrum disorders
    • Developmental disabilities
    • Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
    • Learning disabilities
    • Anxiety disorders
    • Mood disorders (depression, bipolar disorder)
    • Attachment disorders (common among adopted, foster children)
    • Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE)
    • Brain injury: resulting from trauma, epilepsy, stroke
    Stephen Grcevich, MD, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
  • 4. Hidden Disabilities: Facts and Figures
    • Four million US youth suffer from major mental illness resulting in significant impairment at home, in school, and with peers
    • 12-20% of school age population experiences an emotional or behavioral disorder significant enough to require treatment
    • Prevalence rates: ADHD 6.7-7.5%, anxiety 3-8%, autism 1:150
    • Four of five marriages in which a child or family member has a disability end in divorce after that disability enters the family
    • What about siblings of affected kids?
    • The ultimate “low-hanging fruit”
    Report of the Surgeon General of the United States, 1999
  • 5.  
  • 6. Unique Aspects of Hidden Disabilities
    • Parents, kids with most common conditions (ADHD, anxiety) don’t think of themselves as disabled, they don’t meet traditional legal criteria for “disability”, but condition has major impact on church participation, spiritual development
    • Parents fear being judged within the Christian community-“People at church can’t tell when the disability ends and where what they think is bad parenting begins”
    • Parents become tired of having to explain their child’s behavior
    • Social isolation, stress, financial strain, fatigue common
    Key Ministry Foundation
  • 7. Why Should Our Church Start a Ministry to Children with Hidden Disabilities and Their Families?
    • God has placed our church in the midst of families with a need for such a ministry (both inside and outside our body)
    • Without such a ministry, these children (and their families) are less likely to:
    • Experience a saving faith in Jesus Christ and a personal relationship with Him as Lord and Savior
    • Experience genuine worship, authentic fellowship, meaningful discipleship, and opportunities to serve others
    • Experience God’s love through the support and witness of a caring faith community and:
    • The church is denied the blessings/gifts of those excluded!
    Key Ministry Foundation
  • 8. Childhood religious impairments arising from ADHD:
    • The battle begins at home getting ready for church
    • Difficulty delaying gratification for long-term spiritual outcomes
    • More difficulty adhering to spiritual disciplines
    • Prone to “roller coaster” spirituality
    • As they get older, may be drawn to religious contexts that are more action-oriented, participatory, richly intertwined in lives of members
    • Kids may view organized religion as aversive
    Hathaway WL, Barkley RA. J Psychol Christianity 2003, 22(2) 101-114
  • 9. Challenges presented to the church by persons with ADHD:
    • Style of worship may not be engaging to persons with ADHD
    • Expectations in some church traditions for kids to sit for extended periods during adult worship
    • Leaders of church-based educational programs don’t have training or experience in working with kids with ADHD
    • Church environments often less structured, more noisy than school
    • Lots of activities occur when medication has worn off or rebound is occurring
    • Parents choose not to use, or physicians encourage discontinuation of effective medication on weekends
    Key Ministry Foundation
  • 10. Issues with church participation arising from anxiety disorders:
    • Time to leave for church: “meltdowns”, physical complaints “my stomach hurts, I don’t feel good”
    • Visiting a new church
    • Drop-off prior to worship service
    • Need for familiar people at Sunday School, PSR
    • Discomfort in large group environments
    • Self-disclosure and small group participation
    • Performance anxiety
    • Expectations at church camp, mission trips
    Key Ministry Foundation
  • 11. Possible impediments to spiritual growth in kids with autistic spectrum disorders:
    • Impact of impaired language and communication skills in understanding the Bible
    • Difficulty understanding abstract concepts (grace, faith, forgiveness)
    • Reactions of other kids at church to their social inappropriateness in teen years may put them at greater risk of rejecting their faith
    • Less likely to have relationships with others to encourage, model spiritual growth
    • Very diverse group of kids carry this label
    Key Ministry Foundation
  • 12. What does Key Ministry hope to accomplish through our church?
    • Enable more families affected by hidden disabilities to explore your church, through respite events and by providing support during worship experiences.
    • Support inclusion of children with special needs and their families in your church’s discipleship process .
    • Equip your church’s staff, volunteers, and families served through your ministry to use their gifts and talents to share the outrageous love of God with an ever-expanding circle of families touched by hidden disabilities.
  • 13. What might such a ministry look like?
    • Start with Sunday morning or respite events
    • It doesn’t have to be a PROGRAM!
    • Designing ministry environments to be more welcoming to kids with HDs and their families
    • Inclusion for children’s/youth ministry activities (VBS, retreats, etc.)
    • Respite: Events vs. relational respite
    • Support groups
    • Opportunities for small group participation, involvement in service activities
    Key Ministry Foundation
  • 14. Who will partner with us?
    • Key Ministry Foundation www.keyministry.org provides resources to churches free of charge :
    • Best Practices Resource Kit on CD-ROM
    • Web-based resources
    • Opportunities to network with other churches
    • Phone consultation
    • On-site consultation, training
    Key Ministry Foundation
  • 15. Please Stay in Touch!
    • Key Ministry Foundation
    • Rebecca Hamilton, Executive Director
    • 8401 Chagrin Road, Suite 14B
    • Chagrin Falls OH 44023
    • Phone: 440/708-4488
    • [email_address]
    • www.keyministry.org