The Key Ministry writing team brings together the leading voices in the disability ministry community. They are parents, ministry leaders, and self-advocates whose words will encourage and inspire you. Click below to learn more about each one.
Dr. Stephen grcevich
Dr. Stephen Grcevich (MD, Northeast Ohio Medical University) serves as the founder and President of Key Ministry. He is a child and adolescent psychiatrist. He blogs at Church4EveryChild, is a regular contributor for Moody Radio Cleveland and frequently speaks at national and international ministry conferences on mental health and spiritual development. His first book, Mental Health and the Church, was published by Zondervan in February 2018. Steve and his wife Denise live in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.
Catherine Boyle has been impacted by mental health issues her entire life, including her own struggles with anorexia, bulimia, anxiety and depression. Catherine authored Hungry Souls: What the Bible Says About Eating Disorder, and helped launch a ministry home for women with eating disorders. In 2015, Catherine founded Outside In Ministries, focusing on how the church can minister to and with people with mental health issues. Catherine lives in Richmond, Virginia and has been married to Barney since 1994. They have two children, Jack and Natalie.
Sandra Peoples is the author of Unexpected Blessings and Held: Learning to Live in God’s Grip (a Bible study for special-needs parents). She has an older sister with Down syndrome and a son with autism, giving her a unique perspective of life in a special-needs family. She and her family live outside of Houston, TX where her husband is a pastor. Connect with Sandra at sandrapeoples.com
Jolene Philo is the daughter of a disabled father and the mother of a child with special needs. She’s the author of many popular books, including A Different Dream for My Child and Different Dream Parenting. She speaks throughout the United States about parenting children and adults with special needs and post-traumatic stress in children. Her blog, www.DifferentDream.com, provides resources and encouragement for parents of kids with special needs. She also blogs about life on her dusty gravel road at www.jolenephilo.com.
Joe & Cindi ferrini
Joe and Cindi are authors of Unexpected Journey – When Special Needs Change our Course who enjoy speaking on topics that will encourage men and women to make a difference in their sphere of influence by being all they can be for the Lord, their families, and themselves. They speak nationally for FamilyLife Weekend To Remember Get-a-Ways and are on associate staff of CRU.
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 children’s book Jesus, Let’s Talk celebrates young people of all abilities from around the world and highlights key prayer words using American Sign Language. Lisa and Larry have been married almost 30 years and have three grown daughters.
Dr. Lamar Hardwick
Dr. Lamar Hardwick is a father, husband, pastor, and best-selling author. In 2014, after years of silently struggling with social anxiety and sensory processing issues, Dr. Hardwick was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. He is the author of Epic Church as well as his best-selling book, I Am Strong: The Life and Journey of an Autistic Pastor. Lamar is the pastor of New Community Church located in Lagrange, GA.
Diane DOKKO Kim
Diane is a disability ministry consultant, national speaker, and author of Unbroken Faith: Spiritual Recovery for the Special-Needs Parent (Worthy 2018). As the mother of two children with multiple challenges including autism and ADHD, her two-fold passions include encouraging families, and equipping local churches into becoming inclusive faith communities. A frequent collaborator with Joni and Friends, her work has also been featured in Christianity Today, LifeWay, BibleGateway, Parenting Magazine, Moody Radio, Parent Cue, and Jen Hatmaker’s For The Love Podcast. Diane and her husband, Eddie, live in Silicon Valley with their two sons.
Kathleen Deyer Bolduc
Kathleen Deyer Bolduc is a nationally recognized author and speaker in the field of disability ministry, concentrating on disability’s impact on the family system and ways in which churches can become more welcoming of families that live with disability. Her most recent book is The Spiritual Art of Raising Children with Disabilities. Make sure to drop by and visit her blog at her website.
Jason Hague is a pastor and author who writes about the intersection of faith, fatherhood, and autism. As the associate pastor of a mid-sized, non-denominational church in the Pacific Northwest, Jason worked alongside his wife Sara (the church's children's pastor) to pioneer a flexible and inclusive model of children's ministry. His new book is Aching Joy: Following God through the Land of Unanswered Prayer.
Jonathan and his wife, Sarah, reside in Northeast Indiana and have been married for 16 years. He has two sons, ages 11 and 13. His journey in special needs began with the birth of their youngest son. Jonathan and Sarah are the founders of Hope Anew, a ministry that comes alongside the parents of children impacted by special needs on a spiritual and emotional level through speaking, writing, and workshops.
Evana is a God-fearing wife and mother of two children. When she's not engaged in motherly duties, Evana is a pediatric speech-language pathologist where she serves babies and toddlers with autism, feeding disorders, and other developmental delays. You can connect with Evana on twitter, Facebook, and her blog, A Special Purposed Life.
Faith is a wife and homeschooling mom of three kids.. Her oldest, Jaedon, was diagnosed with autism at 2 years old. She blogs at Melody of Autism, which provides caregiver training, consultations, and care for families supporting loved ones with ASD. She is the author of Parenting Like a Ninja: An Autism Mom's Guide to Professional Productivity.
Deborah meyer abbs
Deborah Meyer Abbs works as a freelance journalist and blogger as well as serving as a disability ministry coordinator for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in Illinois and Indiana. She lives in Illinois, with her cop husband, Mike, their two sons, Brandon, 18, and Luke, 13, plus a nutty English bulldog named Crystal.
Mark Arnold is the Additional Needs Ministry Director at leading national Christian children’s and youth organization Urban Saints and is Co-Founder of the Additional Needs Alliance. He blogs as the national award winning ‘The Additional Needs Blogfather’, and is father to James, who has Autism Spectrum Condition and associated Learning Disability.
John Felageller lives in Northbrook, IL with his wife Elizabeth and their son Christopher (ASD), and is currently a Second Grade Teacher at a Charter school in North Chicago, IL. John and his family are continually seeking to lift up other Special Needs Families as well, from creating their own Life Group at their church for Special Needs Parents to hosting a monthly support meetup for just the Dads. John sees his writing as not just a hobby but also something he seeks to use as an outlet for parents (especially dads!) to find comfort.
Married for 24 years with 2 teenage boys, Melanie Gomez's passion is to share the message to every special needs mom that there is joy, there is purpose and there is hope in their journey. Melanie, husband Tony, and boys Ben and Nick, recently moved from Chicago back to their native Florida, where they are looking forward to sunshine and flip flops all year long.
Sarah has her M.A. in Counseling from Grace Theological Seminary and her M.S. from Michigan State University. She served for thirteen years as a missionary with Wycliffe Bible Translators. Currently, Sarah serves with her husband Jonathan as the founder of Hope Anew, guiding the parents of children impacted by special needs to Christ-centered hope and healing on a spiritual and emotional level. She resides in Northeast Indiana, homeschooling her two sons.
Sarah Broady is a mother passionate about encouraging parents of special needs children. She is married to her college sweetheart, Kyle Broady, who is in ministry at their church in eastern Kentucky as the Pastor of Worship. They have three boys. Sarah blogs about her life raising a son with autism at Hope in Autism. Sarah can be contacted through her blog, on Facebook, or on Twitter.
Hunter & Amberle Brown
Hunter and Amberle Brown help lead an organization called The Banquet Network, working with church plants to inspire, equip, and resource them to reach people with disabilities who are on the margins of their communities. They are passionate about helping churches include and reach people with disabilities based on Amber’s own experience of becoming visually impaired.
Cathy is a disciple of Jesus, a mum, ordained and a vicar's wife (in the Church of England), and a writer. She and her husband Andrew have three girls, two who are diagnosed with ASD. You can follow the ups and downs of family life & faith on her blog www.clearlynurturing.wordpress.com.
Mike is co-founder of SoaringFamilies, an online community focused on making a difference in the lives of families impacted by a disability so they can live more freely, more fully and with more energy. SoaringFamilies is about believing in a future that is bigger than the past, creating a world where all persons are accepted and included, and where every life is of equal value. Visit https://soaringfamilies.com
Brandon Appelhans is the Co-founder and Executive Director of My Quiet Cave, a ministry creating space for faith and mental health by helping churches engage mental health. He shares his story of bipolar disorder and discovering our value as beloved sons and daughters of God anywhere he can. Brandon and his family live in Denver, CO.
Tammie is a married mother of a teen-age daughter with a rare genetic syndrome called WAGR syndrome (Wilms Tumor, Aniridia, Genito-Urinary abnormalities, Range of developmental delays). She wanted to be a writer even in elementary school and made that a reality as an active blogger when she discovered that her experiences as a special-needs mother and Christian could help encourage others. She is a substitute teacher and lives with her family in Northern Nevada.
Patty Corrigan Myers is the author of Autism Is A Blessing. Patty’s perspective is to look at the positive side of all struggles that we face and how we can learn and love through them.
Donna has been married to her husband Jeff for thirty-three years. They have four sons. The youngest, Ryan, was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy at the age of five. She’s been a military wife, a stay at home mom, and is now full-time caregiver for Ryan.
The mother of three children, all of whom have a variety of chronic illnesses or special needs, Barbara Dittrich founded Snappin' Ministries (Special Needs Parents Network) in 2002 prior to its merge with Key Ministry in 2018. She lives with her husband of over 25 years in Southeastern Wisconsin, writes and speaks nationwide, and has contributed to a number of blogs since 2002.
Sarah PARSHALL PERRY
Sarah’s most recent book is Mommy Needs a Raise (Because Quitting’s Not an Option) (Revell 2016). It’s her privilege to use her boys’ autism, OCD, and ADHD diagnoses to encourage other families living with disability. Sarah and her husband Matt enjoy an extraordinary, ordinary life in Maryland farm country. Follow their adventures on Facebook.
Andrea is a mom of four teenagers. Her two youngest, Annie and Audrey, are twins who were diagnosed with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex at five months old. Andrea has a heart for disability ministry and longs to help families not only cope, but thrive, and truly know the joy of the Lord. She is a certified Leader for Beyond Suffering - A Christian View on Disability Ministry (Joni & Friends).
Jeremy is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor working with adults and youth who writes at ChurchAndMentalHealth.com about uniting faith and mental health. Jeremy worked as a ministry director for Youth for Christ for 8 years and then as a mental health and substance use adult and youth counselor in Ohio and Colorado, as well as starting up an Opioid Residential Treatment Center.
Skip McDonald is an author, speaker, nurse and resource specialist for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship—a college campus ministry. She champions mental and emotional health, notably in the faith community. As a psychiatric nurse and Mental Health First Aid Instructor, she brings a wealth of experience. Skip is the author of “Christ, My Life-The Great Exchange,” “The Garden of My Heart” and “And She Lived Happily Ever After.” She resides in Smyrna, GA serving with InterVarsity in the southeast.
Sue has nearly 50 years of experience working with people with learning disabilities, starting as a young volunteer at one of the UK’s long stay hospitals while still at school. She subsequently trained as a special needs teacher. Her teaching career gave her experience working with children and adults with a variety of learning disabilities, ranging from mild to severe, including those with autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, challenging behavior, PMLD and mental health issues.
More recently, Sue has developed training programs for those working with people with learning disabilities, has published a PSHE teaching pack and presented at conferences. In 2018 she published a book, “Living Fulfilled Lives, Empowering People with Learning Disabilities.”
Now having retired from paid employment, Sue is dedicated to sharing God’s love within her own church and the wider Christian community. She believes that God’s love and promises are available to all people, including those with disabilities. Sue believes that the Church should be a place of safety and hope for people with learning disabilities and their families. She seeks to share her experience and expertise to encourage Christians to provide appropriate environments and ensure that those with a learning disability are accepted, integrated and empowered to live fulfilled lives.