3 Ways the Church Can Better Serve Special Needs Families

Each of these ministry opportunities demonstrates compassion and addresses a particular individual need. However, while disability affects one family member, it impacts the whole family. There is mother and father who may not have been out on a date for some time because they do not know who to entrust with the care of their child. There may be a sibling whose adolescent apprehensions also include concerns for a brother or sister with a disability. Perhaps they even find themselves as the designated caregiver at times when they simply what to hang out with their own friends. An accessible church will consider how they can address the needs of the family as well as the needs of the disabled individual.

3. Engage in collaborative ministry as part of missional ministry.

Too often the focus of disability ministry is one of mission rather than collaboration. In other words, churches will host an event or function that directly targets the disabled in their community. If the event is successful, some will attend the church and perhaps even make a profession of faith. Yet, there is little consideration given to involving those with disabilities in the full body-life of the church. This is a tragic misstep.

God has gifted every believer for the work of the ministry within the church. Sadly, those with disabilities can find themselves on the sidelines because no one has taken the time to understand how they are uniquely gifted and can contribute to the body of Christ. This may not be an easy process, but it will be a rewarding one. I believe a church that takes seriously the giftedness of their disabled members will experience firsthand the delight of worship without pretense. They will encounter a celebration of His redemption that is magnified in beautiful weakness and awe-inspiring honesty.

One way that the church can be a powerful example of the compassion of Christ is to model a ministry of acceptance and inclusion for those with disabilities. In doing so, the church will be welcoming those that Christ called us to bring into His great banquet.  

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ChrisHulshof@churchleader.com'
Chris is a Department Chair for Liberty University’s School of Divinity. His teaching responsibilities include courses in Inductive Bible Study as well as a Theology of Suffering and Disability. Chris is a second year Doctor of Education student at Southeastern Seminary. His writing and research is focused on the areas of disability and theology. Chris and his wife Becky have one child, a son, whose disability has not diminished his love for life. Catch Chris on twitter @US_EH.