Special-Needs Ministry


I am the social community and family support manager for Key Ministry, a ministry that serves special-needs families and the churches that welcome them.

On their site, I write about special-needs ministry from the perspective of a pastor’s wife and special-needs mom.

sp need min resources

Here are the links and excerpts:

Five Ways Churches Can Strengthen the Marriages of Special-Needs Parents:

I’m thankful the scary divorce stats we hear aren’t true when it comes to parents of kids with disabilities, but churches have a major role to play in helping these couples be as healthy as possible. Where can your church start to serve them?

Shining a Light on the Struggles of Shadow Siblings (what churches can do to help):

Shadow siblings don’t have to feel like they don’t matter in our churches. They can know they are loved, appreciated, and cared for, when we take steps to love them with the love we have been given in Christ.

Four Reasons Not to Have a Special-Needs Ministry (and why they are ridiculous)

Looking at the top four excuses we hear for not doing special-needs ministry and sharing why we don’t think they are good enough reasons to exclude families like mine.

How Churches Can Support Struggling Adoptive Families

Rejoice in adoption and rejoice with adoptive families, but also be sensitive to those who are struggling and love them well.

What Special-Needs Families Wish Their Pastors Knew:

If we could sit down with our pastors and tell them what’s on our hearts, it would include phrases like these: We are lonely. We wish we could do more. We know you can’t control every church members’ reactions to our family, but you do set the example. How you talk about disabilities from the pulpit makes an impact on us. The challenges we face as our children grow up change and evolve.

What Special-Needs Families Really Want from the Churches We Attend:

There’s really just two things I want from the church we attend: I want them to keep James safe and I want them to love him.

Five Qualities the Best Special-Needs Ministries Have in Common:

I’ve noticed that the churches who have the strongest special-needs ministry programs have at least five qualities in common.

Four Signs Your Church Needs a Special-Needs Ministry:

We know pastors are busy and don’t see every need in the church, so we’ve come up with four signs your church may need a special-needs ministry (and we have resources to help).

How Special-Needs Families Bless Their Churches:

We talk a lot about how churches can bless special-needs families. But have you thought about all the ways special-needs families bless the churches they attend?

Four Steps to Finding a Church Home for Your Special-Needs Family:

Finding a new church as a special-needs family isn’t always easy, but with patience from your family and the desire to find a place that really feels like home, the search will be worth it!

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.”

Four Fears That Hold Churches Back from Doing Special-Needs Ministry:

Doing special-needs ministry doesn’t have to be scary! Families like mine need the hope of the gospel. You can share the love of Christ as your church lives out the mission of Christ!

Special-Needs Ministry Should Minister to the Whole Family:

Special-needs ministry doesn’t only take place in a classroom on Sunday morning. It happens in the parking lot, in the hallway, during the service, and even during the week.

The Biggest Challenges Small Churches Face in Special-Needs Ministry:

We don’t have to have a plan in place for every person we can imagine walking through our doors. We just have to love and serve the ones who do. And churches of every size can do that.

What we mean when we say our new church is “special needs-friendly”?

We’re excited to see how God will teach and stretch us in the coming months as we are sent out from our supporting church, build a launch team, serve our neighborhoods, and start preview services. We hope to spread the message that all churches should be special-needs friendly and show it can be done even in the smallest of churches. Knowing what we mean when we say our church is special-needs friendly is a good place to start!

Steps to Take When a Family in Your Church Receives a Special-Needs Diagnosis

The days after parents hear their child has a disability or special need can be difficult days. They need an anchor to help steady them. Their church should be that anchor.

Visiting a New Church with Your Special-Needs Child:

Churches have a responsibility to meet the special needs of families, and these families also need to take steps to let churches know how they can help.