Pastors are busy. I know that well because I'm married to one. It's hard to keep up with everything that's happening in your church week after week. Normally the squeakiest wheel gets the grease, as they say, or the problem that's complained about the most gets your attention.
But there may be a group in your church that isn't getting the attention they need—special-needs families. I'd like to squeak a little on their behalf to help you realize if your church needs a special-needs ministry. Here are four signs:
The teachers and volunteers keep mentioning the same child and how much he or she struggles. This child may need the help of a buddy or could benefit from some sensory activities before it's time to sit down and focus. Learning more about special-needs ministry will benefit all the kids you serve, especially the ones who struggle.
You notice parents walking the halls with their children during class or service time. These parents may not feel comfortable leaving their child in the regular classes or they may not be confident the teachers can meet his/her needs. They come to church, but they aren't fully participating. Maybe their child can sit in the service for the music, but doesn't have the ability to sit through the sermon. The church should take steps to help the family feel as comfortable as possible.
Only some members of a family show up to church. If you only see Dad and one of the kids, but know Mom and another child live with them, this could be a sign the child at home has a disability or special-needs that are keeping them home. Find out more about the family and see if you can meet their needs so everyone gets to worship together.
You don't see any children with disabilities at your church. One in five families in the U.S. have at least one member with a disability. If you look around your church and don't think you have any special-needs families, you are missing out on 20% of the U.S. population. It's definitely time to learn more about special-needs ministry.
Here at Key Ministry, we see it as our mission to help churches serve the families God blesses them with. If your church needs help caring for special-needs families, contact us. We can help you every step of the way (for free!). And if you're interested in financially supporting our ministry, learn more here!