On Friday, we examined the “Movement” God appears to be directing through followers in different places, with different gifts and in different church traditions to minister to families of kids impacted by disabilities, primarily “hidden disabilities.” Today, we’ll look at the role God may be positioning Key Ministry to play in the Movement in 2011 and beyond:
Key Ministry is uniquely positioned with the resources and connections in the professional community to help the church and ministries that support the church to understand the nature of common disabilities that pose barriers to families who would otherwise attend church. Church leaders and Christian parents who are looking to most effectively minister to/shepherd kids with hidden disabilities are confronted with lots of conflicting information from “experts” as to whether kids have the ability to control certain behaviors, whether problems are caused by genes or poor parenting and claims for effectiveness of all types of treatment interventions.
In the same way that the Christian community sends pastors and teachers to seminaries and Bible colleges to develop the ability to ascertain Biblical truths, there are Christ-followers with the necessary training, background and experience to help the church to identify “truth” when it comes to understanding kids with disabilities and the needs of families who care for them. I came across this quote from Dallas Willard that sums up a mindset that I liked enough to feature on my Facebook page:
“Followers of Jesus are required to pursue truth wherever it leads them”
As a ministry, we’ve been blessed with people who have the credentials and contacts to credibly interpret truth from both the Biblical and scientific perspectives. That we can share with the Movement. The way I see it, all truth points back to Jesus anyway.
Key Ministry is positioned to serve as a connector between people and ministries with cool ideas within the Movement. We’re positioned to connect people for two reasons…First, our organization has a unique resource-connections in the medical, research and treatment communities that can and should be a shared resource with other like-minded ministry organizations. Second, because we’ve been very intentional to this point in time about not “selling” the stuff that we provide, I don’t see us as being in competition with any ministry that depends upon payment for their services or products as a means of supporting the ongoing activity of their organizations. We can start competing when every family of a kid with a disability is actively involved with a local church and every person in those families has come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. Until then, we all have work to do…together. If you’re not against us, you’re with us.
Key Ministry can expand its’ influence through serving and resourcing other like-minded Christ-followers and organizations in the Movement. Our thing is to help build bridges to connect churches and families of kids with “issues.” If God has positioned you where you or your organization can help connect families of kids with hidden disabilities to a local church, and if there’s something we can do to help you do that better, contact us. We’re here to serve.
Key Ministry has a unique leadership role in the Movement in equipping the church to connect with families of kids with emotional or behavioral disorders that may not widely be viewed as “disabilities” but nevertheless pose barriers to family church participation. There are a number of organizations that do great work in supporting churches in ministering to kids and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities, such as Friendship Ministries, Joni and Friends, CCFH, Making Room and the Access Ministry folks from McLean Bible Church. There are ministries like Nathaniel’s Hope and Zachariah’s Way that are very helpful to churches in launching respite ministries. The Inclusive Church is very strong on providing resources to churches to ensure they have in place the processes and protections to safely minister to kids with disabilities while caring for and supporting the volunteers to serve them. In the same way that no one local church is effective at reaching everyone, there’s nothing wrong with ministries that may occasionally overlap in the services they provide.
The service niche (actually, it’s a lot larger than a niche) that Key Ministry is addressing where we’re not aware of having lots of company are the kids with conditions like ADHD, anxiety and attachment disorders…conditions in which the disability is often less obvious, but the barriers to church participation and spiritual growth just as real. We’re happy to work with other organizations that have interest in serving those kids and their families. Those are the conditions you’ll learn more about on this blog in 2011.
After all (to quote Craig Groeschel, one of my favorite authors), if we want to reach people no one else is reaching, we have to do stuff no one else is doing.