The following post was originally posted over here at the Inclusive Church blog on December 3, 2012. The blog features many excellent resources and articles on special needs ministry.
Even before December arrived I was knee deep in the Christmas story. Our ministry has been preparing a Christmas Pageant for our kids with special needs. This is a favorite annual event done as part of our ministry’s Christmas Dinner. I’ve also been putting together our Sunday morning curriculum, which of course is five weeks worth of the Christmas story. As with most people who were raised in a Christian home, I have heard the story of Christ’s birth many, many times. Each year, depending on what the Lord is teaching me at the time, a different part of the story sticks out. When I was eight months pregnant and traveling across West Texas, I was particularly touched by how Mary must have felt when Joseph told her she’d have to ride a donkey to Bethlehem. This year, the part that has been running through my head is the phrase, “because there was no room in the inn”.
Over the past few months several new families have come to our church. Most of these families were told by other faith communities that there was “no room in the inn” for them. These are families who have a child with special needs. In many cases, their child requires more attention and patience than a typical child might. These parents all have stories of dropping off or picking up their daughter or son from a ministry environment only to be told that the church is not set up to handle their child. These families have all experienced what Mary and Joseph felt when they were trying to find a place for their child to be born. And their child was to be the Savior of the World! Can you imagine Mary’s dismay as they stood in front of the inn keeper asking for a room? Was she thinking, “If you only knew I am carrying the King of Kings”?
I wonder how the church might change if we looked at the children coming into our ministry as if they were children of the King. ~ Meaghan Wall
Meaghan Wall is the Pastoral Leader of Special Needs at Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas where she has served for the past seven years. Stonebriar Community Church currently welcomes around 100 students with special needs in the GIFT Ministry, providing various opportunities for their families to be actively involved in the church. The GIFT Ministry offers specialized classrooms and inclusion programs on Sunday mornings, a weekly Art Class for teen and adult participants and monthly respite. Meaghan leads training events to help other churches develop and grow their own special needs ministry. Meaghan is a licensed and experienced social worker with a degree from Texas Tech University. Meaghan is currently pursuing a Masters of Christian Leadership at Dallas Theological Seminary. Connect with Meaghan on Twitter: @meaghan_wall
Other posts from Meaghan Wall:
Welcome to the Bite Club
Leading Teen Volunteers
Recruiting and Training Special Needs Volunteers
Bringing a Family Ministry Approach to Special Needs
Family Ministry and Special Needs