This is a book review of Leading a Special Needs Ministry: A Practical Guide to Including Children and Loving Families by Amy Fenton Lee.
Once upon a time, I met an amazing young boy, a guest for the first time in our church and our children’s ministry. I greeted his parents and began the well rehearsed process of collecting the necessary data for all first time guests. Within moments, my conversation with his parents ended abruptly with an unexpected (and for no reason that I could tell) outburst from this young boy; and then I realized, at that moment, the current way of doing children’s ministry in our church needed to change…for the better.
And so began our journey, as a church, to establish a ministry to families with children with special needs. Like a spark that starts a blazing fire in a dry forest, the need to include all kids in our children’s ministry was set aflame by this amazing young boy.
I believe the parents of this kid are heroes. Yes, all parents are heroes…I am a parent too, but some kids sail through life…when they hit a head wind, they can adjust the sails, while other kids have difficulty knowing that they need to adjust much less when to adjust. I’ve come to realize that parents of children with special needs are the ones adjusting the sails for their kids.
My question to our church leaders: How can we, as a church, partner with parents (adjust our sails) to lead all children into a growing relationship with Jesus? Will we love this kid and his parents enough for them to want more of Jesus?
You will find the answer to that question and more in the book, Leading A Special Needs Ministry by Amy Fenton Lee. If you’re looking for a biblical direction for establishing a special needs ministry, you will not find it in the book. It is assumed that the reader of this book has a biblical and God-filled passion to reach all kids for Jesus.
However, passion alone is not enough to organize a successful and vibrant ministry to children with special needs. A special needs ministry is very complex and can become consuming without wisdom.
You don’t know what you don’t know. Read the book. It will redeem a lot of your time with planning while possibly saving you from a few heart aches as a result of making unnecessary mistakes.
- You will learn the need for a screening process with parents and how to make the time with parents a good experience. This is the part I really love…getting to know the child while listening to Mom and Dad.
- You’ll learn how to offer a different lens to better understand undesirable behavior with a more compassionate and appropriate response. Another favorite…it’s awesome to have a passionate group of volunteers.
- You will find helpful templates, resources, inclusion tips, buddy training material, handbook examples, and a parent questionnaire. This book is a work of passion so that your ministry to families and children thrives.
Get a copy of this book to know what you don’t know about leading a special needs ministry. Click here to order your copy today.
For those of you who might not know Amy, she serves as the Special Needs Consultant to Orange and has written extensively on the subject of special needs inclusion in children’s ministry and student ministry environments. Amy’s writing has been published in dozens of in-print publications, journals, and websites. Be sure to check out Amy’s personal blog, The Inclusive Church: Helping Churches Successfully Include Children with Special Needs.