Imagine a new child coming in to your 4th grade Sunday school class. He has a motorized wheelchair. He cannot speak intelligible words. His eyes, when open, seem to wander aimlessly. But every once and a while he seems to focus on a face or a sound. He smiles. Sometimes he lets out an excited “Ha, ha!”
Are you ready and willing to welcome him?
Are the other students in the class ready to welcome him?
It used to be that I hardly ever encountered a child with special needs in my classroom. But that is no longer the case; it’s now the norm. I think that part of the reason for this is because our church has made an intentional effort to reach out and minister to children with disabilities and their families. As a church, we have come to see God’s good design in disability. We have learned to see God’s glory at work in and through the lives of these special children. They are important members of the body of Christ—they are indispensable!
In her seminar titled “Disability, Autism, and the Tender Mercy of Our God,” Brenda Fischer, coordinator for disability ministry at Bethlehem Baptist Church, gives the following advice for ministering to a disabled child:
- Ask God to put His hand on your ministry and help you to bless this child.
- Remember to ask God for wisdom.
- Model patience and prayer.
- Ask the parents for advice on caring for their child.
- Don’t try to guess or assume a diagnosis.
- Learn what you can about a child’s disability.
- It may be helpful to recruit a helper to work with a child.
- Like all of us, those with disabilities are sinners and need a Savior.
- This child is with you for a God-ordained purpose.
- God works in the hearts and attitudes of volunteers through disability.
- God works in the hearts of children as they see others model love for people with disabilities.
For other helpful resources related to disability ministry visit:
Be sure to check back around 12pm central time for our Friday Contest! (It will now be featured every Friday in a separate post.)