Does your church have a special needs ministry? Are you looking for ways to reach and support families whose children have physical or mental disabilities, or other types of special needs? Then read on for an inspiring look at what one congregation is doing!
A New Jersey church’s incredible effort to serve its community is inspiring hearts and minds and helping families thrive. Plus, it’s creating a blueprint for how houses of worship can serve people with special needs.
Tim Lucas is founder and lead pastor of Liquid Church in Parsippany, New Jersey. He recently told Daniel Fusco’s “You’re Gonna Make It” podcast about the church’s phenomenal outreaches.
“We’ve always had a heart for [special needs ministry],” Lucas said, noting Millennials and Gen Z church members help drive the special needs ministry. “We just have a great ministry opportunity.”
The church’s efforts range from placing people with special needs “on the front lines” to preparing for the official launch of a coffee shop entirely staffed by those with disabilities.
“You will find some of our friends with Asperger’s, autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, you name it, serving on the front lines, greeting people, hospitality, working in the café,” Lucas said. “We actually just opened a full-time café that is entirely employed by special needs adults.”
Listen to Lucas reveal the amazing ways Liquid Church is helping people with special needs and their families.
Why You Need a Special Needs Ministry
According to Lucas, too many of individuals with special needs “age out of the education system.” Then they don’t have a place to learn, grow, and offer their services to the community. But “they have extraordinary abilities and spiritual capacity to know Jesus,” he said.
Liquid Church also hosts a special needs prom each year, turning the sanctuary into a massive, inspirational party. “It’s a little taste of heaven on earth,” Lucas said.
The impact on families has been profound. For instance, the parents of one little boy with special needs drive 90 minutes from New York to New Jersey each week to take part in Liquid Church’s Sunday services. These parents told Lucas how important the ministry has been for their family.
“[They said], ‘Not only is our child being loved on, we get respite for an hour and 15 minutes. We actually get to sit in a service, hold hands … and we get to have our souls restored,’” Lucas recounted.
The church’s “Buddy Program” pairs each special needs child with an aide. This one-on-one attention serves both the children and their families.
This article about a special needs ministry originally appeared here.