13 Reasons I’m Thankful for the Disability-Friendly Church

I’m thankful…for ways my sibling/child with special needs is included in church activities with his/her peers.

I’m thankful… for a church family that gives my family grace when we are chronically late, complicated, or demanding. 

I’m thankful… for pastors who include disability examples in their sermons.

I’m thankful… for church leaders who teach sound theology about suffering and God’s good design in disability.


I’m thankful… for church leaders and friends who help me feel safe to share the complexities of my life in a special needs family.

I’m thankful… for a church that comes alongside me when I’m carrying burdens of fear, worry, loneliness, anger, and confusion.

I’m thankful… for discerning leaders who understand that sometimes I don’t want to think about what’s going on with my special needs sibling/child at home.

I’m thankful… for church leaders who ask how my sibling/child with special needs is doing.

I’m also thankful… to have church leaders and friends who recognize that I need to feel seen and cared for, apart from my role as a sibling/parent of someone with special needs.

I’m thankful… for the ways our church has extended practical help to my family.

I’m thankful… my church perseveres in prayer for my family and special needs families like mine. 

I’m thankful… my church doesn’t assume my special needs sibling/child is already saved; I’m thankful my church is intentional about sharing the Gospel in developmentally-appropriate ways.

I’m thankful… to be part of a church family that values “having each other’s backs.”

Lisa Jamieson is an author, speaker and advocate who founded the Minnesota Disability Ministry Connection and serves as executive director of Walk Right In Ministries. Lisa’s daughter Carly, was born with Angelman Syndrome. In their first book together, Finding Glory in the Thorns, Lisa and her husband, Larry, recount the early years around Carly’s diagnosis and what happened when the community loved her. Since then, Lisa has authored the Finding Glory Group Bible study and discussion curriculum, Living Your Glory Story, and the children’s book Jesus, Let’s Talk which celebrates young people of all abilities from around the world and highlights key prayer words using American Sign Language.