In order to communicate with care and compassion, ministry leaders need to understand the five phases of special-needs parenting. In the video below, I give an overview of the phases, share what families need from their church in each phase, and give communication tips that are effective no matter what phase parents are in.
The Child Mind Institute has launched the #MyYoungerSelf campaign during Mental Health Month to counter the stigma for the 1 in 5 children struggling with these disorders. This May actors, athletes, social influencers, business people and others are sending a message of hope about their experiences growing up with a mental health or learning disorder. Here's a letter from the leader of our ministry team to an eleventh grade boy who was going through a difficult time.
How can each follower of Jesus pursue justice for people with disabilities? We see in David a paradigm when he meets Mephibosheth. In 2 Samuel 9, we see David exemplify three simple practices that can help combat injustice and inequity for people with disabilities.
I’ve been in ministry long enough to know that the prayers and time spent seeking God determine the outcome of ministry and special events. Everyone working in the space of special needs or mental health ministry needs to stay prayed up, in God’s Word, for guidance, wisdom, and protection. Make no mistake, the work of all special needs ministry, including ministry to and with people whose disability is revealed in behavior, is very much intertwined with the battle over whose life holds value. Anyone working in this space is on the front line of the battle between darkness and light.
We need to learn what works for our family, and it’s not always us who can take the reins to start a ministry when our plates are so full with the needs before us. Thus, when a church has a ministry to special needs, the thinking and the work has been taken off our plate. We can embrace the opportunities before us, which lightens our load and helps us in this journey.
When my cat died, chewy.com showed great care and concern for my loss, even beyond the principles of the Golden Rule. Chewy went all the way to the Platinum Rule. And the Platinum Rule is how churches can make mental health ministry happen and be successful.
We want to see churches start with disability in their DNA. We want people with disabilities to be targets of the evangelistic efforts new churches make, and participants in the early stages of a church’s life. One of our core convictions is that when a church doesn’t include people with disabilities, the church itself is disabled. People with disabilities remind us that God’s grace is shown most powerfully in weakness. They remind us that we all must remain dependent on God for our daily bread.