The Church and Children With Special Needs

The Church and Children With Special Needs - - -
2 min read

When Nate was about 5 years old, we began attended to church. As I sat in the pew with my son, there were times that I felt like the only parent of a child with special needs. I felt like an anomaly. I knew of adults with special needs in the congregation, but I was unaware of any other families with small children. Was I the only one, I wondered?

While a member of the church I sought other parents. In the large congregation, I met two mothers, one with a child with Cerebral Palsy and the other with a child with ADHD. Were there more? If so, how would I find them? I didn’t know. I thought it would be great to have a fellowship or ministry to find other families of children with special needs, bringing them together.

I wrote a letter and proposal to the pastors detailing my thoughts and my vision. I was humbly surprised when I received a response. Shortly afterwards, a meeting was held to discuss my ideas.  I felt good sharing my thoughts and  I left believing a plan of action would occur to start a fellowship or ministry. However, nothing transpired and I was left disappointed.

While I attended that church, I continued to pray for a ministry that would help parents of children with special needs, however it never happened, while I was there. Later, I joined another church and there was the same dilemma, there was no ministry for children with special needs.

As Nate got older, I had to stop bringing him to church, as his behavior and attention span would not allow him to sit for long periods of time. It was difficult because I disliked not having my son with me. Yet, the thought of fellowships and ministries for parents of children with special needs never stopped being a burden on my heart. In fact it continues to be a soft spot for me today.

Over the years, I have seen churches expand their children’s ministry to include those specifically for children with special needs. The church where I now attend, has a special needs ministry. Seeing this makes me happy. I am grateful that God is placing this burden on the heart of people to meet this need for families. And I will continue to pray that this need is met in churches around the world to give families with special needs the help and support they need within the body of Christ. - -

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  1. 1

    In my personal opinion Thanks to the Name it and Claim Gospel of Greed which originated in the 80s put an unnatural emphasis on Christian perfection. Healing. I remember in the past taking Stephen to church and immediately the clergy wanted to slap oil on him, yelling all types of prayers and told me that he would become “normal.” Finally I got tired of their hypocrisy. I rarely attend church however I believe Stephen’s Group Home Residence takes him to church on Sundays. Those Sundays when he is with me we don’t go to church. The church does not accept people with disabilities for the most part. Frankly if you don’t have millions of dollars, live in a fancy house or drive an expensive car supposedly you are not living up to these so-called privileges. That’s why you so rarely see disabled people at church. Some churches do have Sign Language interpreters or maybe Braille Bibles but most don’t. Some churches still don’t have wheelchair access. Why? Because they don’t want to. Not sure if or when that attitude will change. And they wonder why most people don’t attend church anymore. Spent a wonderful Sunday yesterday with Stephen at the Brooklyn Museum and then the park basking in Nature ~~ God’s Cathedral.

    • 2

      Thank you so much for sharing. I use to think the same thing. Growing up and going to church with my grandmothers, I really don’t remember seeing any children or adults with special needs. Perhaps there was some shame? Or lack of acceptance? I’m not sure.
      I do think “some” people have wrong thinking about people with disabilities, believing that it is a curse from God and or sin from the parent. That is definitely a lie from Satan. However, I see some church really doing their best to include children with special needs and I must give the credit. I just hope to see more. 🙂

  2. 3

    I have the same problem. MJ goes to church with me sometimes but it is a fight to get him out of the house at times and his attention span doesn’t allow for more than an hour. I tried the children’s church and soon realized that he was kind of ignored. People that I trusted with him, left the church so now he just sits with me. More churches really need to update their ministries to include special needs kids.

    • 4

      Yes NickyB. Thank you for reading and definitely for sharing. I can definitely relate to everything you said. Sounds like my life with Nate. Going to church was a major problem, and there was no children’s ministry that was adequate for my son. I eventually had to keep Nate home with a sitter or I would only go when he was with his dad. I don’t think this was good, but my only solution. Yes, as you said, church MUST update their ministries to include children with special needs.:)

  3. 5

    Our church has a wide range of abilities every Sunday. Because we are downtown, we have mentally ill street people with us. We have a woman severely affected by CP who we struggle to understand when she speaks. We have several Downs kids and a couple with stimming. All God’s children have a place in church. May it be so everywhere.

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