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Special Needs Ministry Takes More Than a Program


Sometimes we in the church develop a program to “fix” things. But, when it comes to people with special needs or disabilities, it is not about “fixing” a problem. Special needs ministry takes more than a program. While we may need to make some adjustments to accommodate their challenges, it’s more about building an environment where everyone belongs.

Perspective Needed to Get Beyond Mere Programming for Special Needs Ministry

To build an inclusive environment, we need a proper mindset, attitude, and heart …

that sees the person, not the disability.

that views them as much a part of the Body as anyone else.

that unconditionally accepts those different than ourselves.

Help for Ministry Leaders and Bible Teachers

Sure, you will undoubtedly need to develop a program structured to best meet their unique needs but you already do that for children, youth, and adults, for men and women, etc.  But, just like with those ministries, the goal should never be to isolate them from total church life.  They are a valuable part of the Body.  They belong.

Special Needs Ministry in the Bible Classroom


2 Replies to “Special Needs Ministry Takes More Than a Program”

  1. Good article. I currently teach adults with special needs at my church in Tomball, Texas. I average about 40 to 50 people each Sunday, which also includes staff members/caregivers. I try to tailor the curriculum for the needs of the class, but they range from low functioning to those with high functioning. The thing I have found works best is to let Jesus teach the class, whether you are using Lifeway curriculum or something you wrote yourself. If you start teaching the love of Jesus and what it means to follow Jesus, the class will respond. they all want to hear about love. The Holy Spirit has shown me through four years of teaching that I must teach these adults, just like I would any adult, they do not like to be treated like children. In regular classes we are taught to be disciples and take the gospel to the world and that is what the JOY Disciples are doing in Tomball. I challenge them to take the story to others; to let their friends and family know. Yes they have special needs, but my 26 year old son is as close to the Holy Spirit as I am, they just have a different relationship.

    • Thank you so much, Joyce, for sharing from your personal experience both as a teacher and as a parent. Let me just add a big AMEN to what you have written. Your emphasis on making disciples reminds me of a gentleman I know who has special needs. Almost every time he meets someone new, he says “I know Jesus. Do you know Him too?” — I’m both blessed and convicted!

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