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.
The church in this story has no official disability ministry, no “program.” They try very hard to organically meet the needs of individual families who worship there. This is a church-in-progress. It’s a church family becoming an increasing reflection of Christ; God is growing fruit. They realize there is a lot they don’t know or understand. And they’re excited to learn and grow as a community.
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.
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.