Monday, May 23, 2011

Sunday Morning

We were sitting near the back. As usual second service on Sunday morning was packed. On this day, as they do once every year, the kids had taken over the service. Some were greeters. Others took the offering. A few were up on the stage singing during the worship time (along with the band, who were all teens/young adults). We all sat waiting for each of the classes to come out, the elementary and preschool-age kids, to share their part.

But first, Brenda had something to say. Brenda, the special education teacher who is the leader of the special needs ministry our church is launching. She played a video. She shared facts. She talked about autism specifically. And that less than 10 percent of churches have any kind of special needs ministry. She talked about families who feel so alone; who desperately need support. She encouraged people to be tolerant, understanding, compassionate. She urged people to volunteer, if they felt God was prompting them to do so.

She spoke of that verse from Matthew: Whoever welcomes a little child likes this in my name welcomes me.

As she spoke I noticed people around me wiping their eyes. I wondered what they were thinking. Did they have family members or friends with special needs? Or even a child? Our church is so big -- there are so many people I don't know; so many stories I don't know. Or were the tears something else? A little whisper from God. A little urging. A few more eyes opening; hearts opening.

"Every week for two years," one of the Sunday school teachers was telling me the other day, referring to another mom in the church with a special needs child. "Every Sunday she'd ask, 'How's the special needs ministry coming along?'"

I've written of this before here. And here we were. It was really happening. For once I had (almost) no tears because I was so proud. My heart felt full.

How fitting that they introduced the special needs ministry on the day that was all about the children. How vital that this group not be forgotten. God has not forgotten.
So many people need this. It's a work in progress, but it's coming alive. I can't wait to spread the word.


cheairs frank said...

Beautiful!! Just beautiful! Our church has been so wonderful about welcoming out little guy, but knowing only 10% if churches have a special needs I am going to forward this to the leaders at our church. Thank you for your honest and insight. Beautiful words. here is my url. blogger does not like to like to take it. I am not sure why.
Redefining Typical

Unknown said...

I have yet to find a Church home that welcome my son and I with open arms. Once they learn of his Asperger's Syndrome and other disabilities it seems that no one cares anymore!

Deb said...

Thanks and I'm glad you are passing this along, Cheairs. So many times the problem is just a lack of knowledge. I find it SO SAD that the church is so behind on this...when in reality it should be in the forefront. This is the essence of Jesus' ministry and teachings. Heather, I'm so sorry you have had difficulties with churches. Have you tried looking online? I know people who drive 45 minutes to church just so they can be somewhere that welcomes their child with open arms.

Anonymous said...

awesome. this is so much on my heart to see more churches lovingly reach out to special needs families.