Special needs and the church are complicated. Why? Because it’s an area of service that individuals often overlook for a variety of reasons:
I don’t know what to do to help.
I’m not trained to help.
I don’t know who to ask for how I can help.
I don’t know anyone personally with special needs.
I don’t want to work that hard.
I don’t know if I can do it.
_______________ (your reason/excuse)
WE ARE THE CHURCH
Needs are many around us. And the same needs are in the church as they are out in the community! We know that we need to strengthen families in order for communities to be strengthened, but what about those families that are struggling? There are the families with children with special needs; struggling to keep their bottom lip above the water line of life. There are the families caring for those with hidden disabilities and few know the strain of their day-to-day existence. And those who have a family member involved in some addiction or those who live with mental illness and are barely coping. What are we to do? There are so many needs that we will never have lack of ways to help.
As the “church” (we, the people) have a unique opportunity to reach out to, welcome in, love and care for, and minister to those no matter their need. We have a long way to go if people don’t want to leave their comfort zones and reach out to the needy and the unlovely. When we heard someone in the church say, “I don’t ask people how they’re doing because I am afraid I might have to do something,” we know we are in trouble!
Yet, if each one of us did just a little something to help another, even if we ourselves are in a place of need—what a wonderful place our church and community would be. Here are a few quick thoughts along with ideas that any one of us could do if we simply said yes to seeing and meeting a need:
WE ARE THE CHURCH:
Greet someone at a church door with a kind smile and eye contact!
A kind word; a sweet thought for the day; a hug if appropriate!
Accepting others no matter how they look, dress, and even act.
R-Reach out with Respect
Treating all others in the same way: kindly, courteously, gently, with honor.
To be noticed and addressed is rare but welcomed. Try it!
T-Today and Tomorrow
Keep trying even if results aren’t immediate; we can make a difference!
H-Helpful – See a Need and Meet it!
Look for, observe, find, and then meet a need. You won’t regret it!
With enthusiasm share the love of Christ in action over words!
C-Challenge Yourself to Meet the Needs of Others
It’s not always easy if you’ve never done it but challenge yourself to try.
H-Honor all others
Put others before yourself and this “church” will work!
U-Unique are YOU in the Overall Workings of the Church to bring UNITY!
We are all unique but sometimes some are overlooked. Look for them.
R-Respite is Needed by Families with Special Needs; Can You Get Involved?
Most won’t ask, but there is always a need; can you offer to help?
H-Hope is Received When Others Encourage and Participate
We can’t go without hope. Are you willing to reach out to provide it?
We have a long way to go to meet every need, but as we meet one and then another, more will be accomplished in loving and serving others. Won’t you give it a try? We Are The Church and we can do it!
Dr. Joe and Cindi Ferrini are authors, speakers, and bloggers for several blogging sites on family and special needs. They speak nationally for FamilyLife Weekend To Remember Marriage Get-a-Ways, authored Unexpected Journey – When Special Needs Change our Course, and have been interviewed on Focus on the Family, FamilyLife, and various other radio and television venues. Connect with them at www.cindiferrini.com and social media at: www.facebook.com/cindi.ferrini, www.facebook.com/UnexpectedJourney/, www.facebook.com/MyMarriageMatters/