Are you looking for ideas to minister to individuals with specials needs and their families? If you are like me, the answer to that question is “Always!” Thankfully, the Lord allowed my home church to have three very different, but successful events over the last year. Our mission was to offer three separate occasions, each with their own focus. The first two events, although similar in nature, differed in their target audience.
The Church Awareness and Training was designed to provide a training for our own members and members of other local churches. The goal of this session was to raise an awareness with ministerial staff, Sunday school teachers, ushers, and other church members on the importance of supporting our special needs individuals and their families.
The Parent and Guardian Support Meeting was designed for the parents and guardians themselves. It was a time for them to gather and ask questions.
Our final event was our first Annual Special Needs Service and After Party. We invited other area churches and also spread the word throughout the community. We were very excited to have several first time visitors and the event became a great outreach!
We began the afternoon with a short service. We followed the service with an indoor after party. We provided healthy snacks, a craft table, games, and a photo area. We made sure to let each parent know that we would be happy to make adjustments to any crafts and games that were needed. Outdoors, we had a petting zoo along with a fire truck from the local fire department and a police cruiser and trooper from the state police department.
Our goal for the day was simple: to provide a service and event for individuals with special needs. It was a time for them to be themselves and just have fun. No one needed to worry about being too loud or too excited. This was their day. It was a day to hang out with their friends and meet some new ones.
God truly blessed the day. It was so rewarding to hear the different stories from the parents and to see all of the smiling faces. Not only were each of the special needs individuals thrilled with the day, but it brought a fulfillment to each and every volunteer.
To sum it all up, be encouraged! Find the right events that fit for your church. Find those in your own congregation who can bring a different perspective to your own ABLE ministry. Start with creating an awareness by providing training for the church staff, ministry, and teachers. Second, find time to minister to the parents and siblings of special needs children and create an outlet for them to seek godly council. And most importantly, don’t forget to minister to the special needs individuals themselves.
Written by: Angela Arrand. She and her husband, Rev. Joshua Arrand, attend More Life Tabernacle in Swartz Creek, Michigan with their two children Boston (age 17) and Brooklyn (age 16). She enjoys traveling and spending time with her family.