Welcome to the Blog!

Promises of Hope: Inclusive Family Advent Devotional

By Sandra |

  The thrill of hope—a weary world rejoices. For special-needs families, this time of year can feel weary. We’re out of our routine, there are extra expectations on us, and we are jealous of those families who don’t seem to have the same limitations we do. That’s why Christmas’s message of hope is exactly what … Read more

What should I do if my church doesn’t have a special needs ministry?

By Sandra |

  When we got our son’s autism diagnosis in 2010, there was no special-needs ministry at our church. Because my husband was the pastor, we couldn’t go to the big church in the next town that did have a great disability ministry. We had to hope and pray church members would step up and take … Read more

What if my child isn’t able to learn about God and experience salvation?

By Sandra |

  I remember the day my older sister, who has Down syndrome, went down front at church and told the preacher she had accepted Jesus as her Savior. After a few more conversations, she was baptized. Faith, even childlike faith according to Matthew 18, is necessary, and she had that faith. But my son James … Read more

ETCH Resources 2022

By Sandra |

  Thank you for attending my sessions at LifeWay’s ETCH conference! I’ve put all the links I mentioned in one place for easy access. I hope it’s helpful! Slides from “What Every Children’s Minister Should Know about Welcoming Children with Disabilities“ Slides from “Supporting Students with Invisible Disabilities“ Buddy bag Amazon list Pinterest board for … Read more

Buddy Training

By Sandra |

  Training buddies to serve in your children’s and youth ministries is an important part of helping your church be welcoming and inclusive! I’ve written before on Recruiting, Training and Supporting Buddies in Your Children’s and Youth Ministries, but I often get asked how to do the buddy training. I recorded these buddy training sessions to use … Read more

In Honor of My Big Sister

By Sandra |

  We lost my big sister Syble on July 24th from undiagnosed gall bladder cancer. She had been sick, but we assumed the doctors would figure out what was going on and she would be back to normal soon. I’d like to share her obituary and the words I shared at her service here so … Read more

Creating ISPs (Individualized Spiritual Plans!) for Students with Special Needs, Learning Disabilities, and Behavioral Diagnoses

By Sandra |

  At our church, our special needs ministry’s goal is to communicate the gospel to every child in a way they understand and in an environment where they feel comfortable. Because every child is unique, we have developed ISPs for each one—individualized spiritual plans! Similar to what the students have at school under their IEPs, our … Read more

Theology of Disability and Ministry Inclusion Reading List

By Sandra |

  (Affiliate links included) Disability and the Gospel: How God Uses Our Brokenness to Display His Grace by Michael S. Beates Copious Hosting by Jennie Weiss Block Fearfully and Wonderfully by Paul Brand and Philip Yancey Disability: Living into the Diversity of Christ’s Body by Brian Brock Wondrously Wounded: Theology, Disability, and the Body of Christ by … Read more

Disability Ministry Resources

By Sandra |

  My Resources: Sandra Peoples – Special Needs Ministry  Southern Baptist Texas – Special Needs Ministry All Access Conference Houston, Texas SBTC Special Needs Facebook Page Sandra Peoples – Vimeo Websites: KeyMinistry.org  SoarSpecialNeeds.org  AbilityMinistry.com  JoniAndFriends.org 99 Balloons Nathaniel’s Hope The Banquet Network Faith Inclusion Network Conferences: All Access Disability Ministry Conference Feb, Houston Key Ministry … Read more

Three Phases of a Flourishing Disability Ministry: Friendship & Support (Phase 3)

By Sandra |

Eight Outreach Events to Target (and Bless) Special-Needs Families: We see special-needs families as an unreached people group we plan to target. And like missionaries, we are taking the “go and engage” approach instead of just “come and see.” Five Activities to Target Adults with Disabilities: These activity ideas are great for older teens and … Read more

Three Phases of a Flourishing Disability Ministry: Formation (Phase 2)

By Sandra |

How Many Children with Disabilities Should I Expect at a Church My Size? The percentage of children in your community who will need accommodations to be comfortable and successful at your church is likely close to 20% of your total church attendance. Creating ISPs (Individualized Spiritual Plans) for Every Student in Your Special-Needs Ministry Our … Read more

Three Phases of a Flourishing Disability Ministry: Foundation (Phase 1)

By Sandra |

4 Ways to Be a Welcoming Church to Special-Needs Families: I’m confident every church can move from ‘We think people with disabilities would be welcome’ to ‘We know they would be welcome.’ How special needs inclusion changes the culture of the church: When James pulls up a seat at the table and joins them at the … Read more