Bay Presbyterian Church  ||  April 5 & 6, 2019

Key Ministry’s national disability ministry conference was held April 5 & 6, 2019 at Bay Presbyterian Church in Cleveland, OH. Inclusion Fusion Live 2020 will be held April 24 & 25, 2020 in Cleveland. Sign up here to receive updates.

We are now considering proposals for presenters for Inclusion Fusion Live 2020.

Speaker Applications for IFL2020 are due by November 14. {Click here to apply.}

Keynote Addresses

Dr. Steve Grcevich discusses recent research on the relationship between mental illness and church attendance, and points churches to an intentional strategy for welcoming and including families impacted by mental illness into the life of the local church. #IFL2019 Dr. Grcevich is the President and Founder of Key Ministry, and author of Mental Health and the Church: A Ministry Handbook for Including Children and Adults with ADHD, Anxiety, Mood Disorders, and Other Common Mental Health Conditions.

Sandra Peoples is a special-needs mom and sibling. She and her family live outside of Houston, TX where she serves her church as director of the special-needs ministry. In her keynote address, she reminds parents and ministry leaders that they are living out God’s Plan A—that the circumstances they are in were not a surprise to God.

She’s the author of Unexpected Blessings: The Joys and Possibilities of Life in a Special-Needs Family. You can connect with her at

Stephen "Doc" Hunsley describes how he found himself doing special needs ministry and why it's imperative for churches to minister with the special needs community. #IFL20 Doc is the SOAR Special Needs Director and Pastor for Grace Church in Overland Park and Olathe, Kansas.
Janet Parshall issued a powerful call to the church to minister more effectively to persons with mental illness in this keynote presentation from Inclusion Fusion Live 2019, a national disability ministry conference hosted by Key Ministry. She identifies key biblical figures who experienced symptoms of mental illness, challenges church leaders to end their stigmatization of persons with mental health issues and pastors to begin addressing the topic in the course of their preaching.

Quick Takes & Interviews on the Main Stage

Brian Dahlen of Moody Radio Cleveland interviews Janet Parshall and Janet Parshall Perry about their family's experience of mental illness.
Colleen Swindoll Thompson engages in a very open and frank discussion regarding her family's experiences with autism, mental illness and trauma with Brian Dahlen of Moody Radio Cleveland at Inclusion Fusion Live 2019, a national disability ministry conference hosted by Key Ministry. #IFL2019
Kathleen Zion of Moody Radio interviews her parents, Cindi and Joe Ferrini and her sister about their experiences growing up with Joey - their brother with special needs. #IFL2019
Matt Mooney from 99 Balloons identifies nine common characteristics of families that flourish in the presence of disability
The Bible provides vivid imagery of the role of a pastor in the local church. Among all of the images used, the image of pastor as shepherd paints a beautiful picture of the importance of the pastoral relationship in the life of the Christ follower. This is especially true for the special-needs community, but often pastors and church leaders are uncertain of just how to be pastors to the special-needs community. In this session, Dr. Lamar Hardwick will use his experience as an adult with autism and as a pastor of eighteen years to share biblical principles on how pastors can best serve the special-needs families in their church.
Whether you’re new to the five love languages or a longtime fan, this workshop offers strategies for identifying the primary language of a child with special needs and ideas for adapting how to speak the love languages to children with a wide variety of abilities and disabilities, including typical siblings. The workshop is based on more than forty interviews Jolene conducted while doing research for the love languages book, slated for release in August of 2019, that she is co-writing with Dr. Gary Chapman.
Individuals and families affected by disability and chronic illness face moral predicaments and ethical dilemmas. They must decide about participating in drug trials and research studies, supporting "curative" organizations, medicating behaviors, activating a DNR, pursuing guardianship, praying for healing, and more. As Christians, how do we resist cultural collapse when it comes to these kinds of issues? How can friends, family, caregivers, and churches provide support and foster a decision-maker’s biblical worldview? We will explore common scenarios using a biblical framework for decision-making that is God-honoring, life-edifying, and peace-giving.
Authentic support groups can serve as accepting and affirming communities for parents facing the unique multi-faceted challenges of parenting a child with special needs. Support groups are vital lifelines to connecting parents with others in their community as well as the church. Local churches establishing these groups can become places of restoration for parents who have previously felt isolated and excluded. Creating and sustaining support groups for this population provide families a starting place to access valuable resources and a consistent community championing transformative hope. This session will provide practical steps on recruiting and training support group leaders, facilitating groups, growing group membership, and supporting members.
Colleen shares honesty, humor, and practical exercises in this presentation intended to help you refocus the way you see life's ever-changing circumstances in light of our unchanging God.
Brad Hoefs discusses his personal history with bipolar disorder, his path to mental health ministry and the types of group support most helpful to Individuals and families in this interview with Brian Dahlen of Moody Radio Cleveland
Beth shared several ideas to grow your ministry to support and encourage the whole family and remind them they are not alone—they are loved and they are valued. #IFL2019
As a parent of a child with special needs, grief is part of the journey. But so are hope and joy! How can we understand and process our grief during transitional times, yet allow the Lord to use us in the midst of it? Deb will share her experiences and lessons with all of us searching for hope.
When you find yourself in the midst of difficulties and circumstances that seem to be overwhelming it's easy to feel like the future is lost, causing hopelessness to set in. But, the truth is that there IS hope for everyone in every situation. So, how can you have that kind of hope? Well, that's what this quick talk is all about! #IFL2019
Becky Davidson shared words of encouragement for special needs dads, and introduced the unique support needs of single parents caring for a child with a disability. #IFL2019

Breakout Sessions

BREAKOUT SESSION #1: FRIDAY, APRIL 5 (9:00 am – 10:15 am)

What Is the Church’s Response to Childhood Trauma?Michele Maris

It’s Way More Than Just ExerciseTony D’Orazio

Shout for Joy: Engaging the Whole Church in Accessible WorshipKaren Roberts

BREAKOUT SESSION #2: FRIDAY, APRIL 5 (10:30 am – 11:45 am)

Inclusion Environments vs. Separate Environments (What They Look Like and Why You Need Both)Jillian Palmiotto

The Special-Needs Church as Part of the Gathered ChurchKyle Broady

Renovate ChurchVictoria White

BREAKOUT SESSION #3: FRIDAY, APRIL 5 (1:00 pm – 2:15 pm)

ONE: The Ultimate InclusionDaniel Turney

Sensory Rooms That Make SenseJenni Wolfenbarger

Beyond Our Church Walls: Bridging the Gap to Those Affected by Disability Karen Roberts

BREAKOUT SESSION #4: FRIDAY, APRIL 5 (2:30 pm – 3:45 pm)

Events for Every Person: How to Make Your Events InclusiveChristine Pierce

Supporting and Teaching Children Who are Language Delayed, Minimally Verbal, or NonverbalEvana Sandusky

Marketing and Branding for Special-Needs MinistryJillian Palmiotto

BREAKOUT SESSION #5: FRIDAY, APRIL 5 (7:45 pm – 9:00 pm)

Making My Marriage Matter – Joe & Cindi Ferrini

It’s Not Fair! Training Up Exceptional Special-Needs SiblingsMelanie Gomez

Caring for Yourself Now So You Can Still Care for Your KidsJonathan & Sarah McGuire

Building Better Relationships Between Special-Needs Parents and Ministry Leaders: Effective CommunicationSarah Broady

Growing the Disability Movement through Leadership NetworkingLisa Jamieson

Planning and Implementing a Family CampBeth Castile

BREAKOUT SESSION #6: SATURDAY, APRIL 6 (9:45 am – 11:00 am)

You Are More Than … - Sarah Broady and John Felageller

Find Your TribeBecky Davidson

Navigating the Transition to Special-Needs Adult: Spiritual and Practical Pitfalls to AvoidMelanie Gomez

Going from Surviving to Thriving – Shelly Roberts

How to Become a Special-Needs Ministry Master ChefJolene Philo and Katie Wetherbee

How to Pastor Special-Needs FamiliesLamar Hardwick

BREAKOUT SESSION #7: SATURDAY, APRIL 6 (11:15 am – 12:30 pm)

The Five Phases of Special-Needs ParentingSandra Peoples

Faith and the Special-Needs FatherJohn Felageller

Creative Planning for Problem BehaviorTiffany Crow

Curriculum Isn’t a Dirty WordRyan Wolfe

Understanding Autism: Strategies to Improve CommunicationCara Daily

BREAKOUT SESSION #8: SATURDAY, APRIL 6 (1:30 pm – 2:45 pm)

Building Family ConnectednessLisa Jamieson   

Secondary Trauma and Chronic StressJonathan and Sarah McGuire

Adapting the Five Love-Languages for Kids with Special Needs and DisabilitiesJolene Philo

Everyone Can Share Jesus! – Mona Fuerstenau

Mentoring Teens with High Functioning AutismCatherine Boyle

Fresh Hope for Mental Health for Teens and Adults – Brad Hoefs

Simple Solutions for Complex RealitiesMatt Mooney

Ministry Intensives

Presented at Bay Presbyterian Church, Bay Village, OH on April 5, 2019  Stephen Grcevich, MD, Key Ministry  Catherine Boyle, Key Ministry  Pastor Brad Hoefs, Fresh Hope

Presented at Bay Presbyterian Church, Bay Village, OH on April 5, 2019

Stephen Grcevich, MD, Key Ministry

Catherine Boyle, Key Ministry

Pastor Brad Hoefs, Fresh Hope

Presented at Bay Presbyterian Church, Bay Village, OH on April 5, 2019  Stephen “Doc” Hunsley, SOAR Special Needs Ministry Grace Church, KS  Beth Golik, Key Ministry

Presented at Bay Presbyterian Church, Bay Village, OH on April 5, 2019

Stephen “Doc” Hunsley, SOAR Special Needs Ministry Grace Church, KS

Beth Golik, Key Ministry