Worshiping with Joel at age 11 was an interesting experience. It was not unlike sitting on the edge of your seat during an action movie, when you're not quite sure what's going to happen next—you only know something is going to happen. Then one day, during communion, a radiant look of understanding came upon Joel's face.
Caring for families impacted by disabilities and special needs often means having the calling and the commitment to provide a pastoral care experience that is based on a plan of how best to care for the needs of the family. Here are some things to consider when committing to caring for the spiritual needs of special needs families.
After a meeting with our elder board about some missions support, our leadership team had an awakening of sorts. One of the elders said, “We need to understand disabilities better as a church,” and then asked, “How can we educate our people about this and do better together as it relates to our families affected by disability?” Read how one church became intentional about disability ministry and outreach.
Keep listening to the voice of God as you ask: What gift has this person been given by God that might benefit those around them, and especially the Church? A person just being present is a gift to those around them. Who are we to judge who can and cannot have a relationship with God, or who can and cannot serve Him?
As a young mom of four children, two of whom have disabilities, including severe intellectual impairment, I ask God tough questions. I imagine many ministry leaders wonder some of the same things I do, but fear asking. It’s natural to wonder and it’s okay to ask. It’s in wrestling with such questions, pressing into Jesus in prayer and exploration of His Word we not only find answers but gain a deeper understanding of who Jesus intended the Church to be.
Whether Mother’s and Father’s Days are acknowledged as part of your church’s worship service or not, we’re wise to recognize the state of mind and emotion present in adoptive and foster parents and their children on these days. It’s important to recognize and express sensitivity toward each member of these families.