Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve continued to have experiences that reinforce how important it is for Key Ministry to actively seek out other ministries and leaders who are passionate about sharing Christ’s love with families of kids with disabilities, to offer to support and network those ministries and leaders, and to share our platforms with them in order to assist them in expanding the impact of their ministries.
We’re working together with Michael Woods from Making Room on a website (www.specialneedsministry.org) designed to serve as a “gathering place for those involved with special needs ministry focused on individuals and how they are ministering to OUR kiddos. A site where people can both give (share what their doing and how) and receive (read what others are doing) among loyal yoke-fellows!” If you’re involved in some aspect of ministry to families of kids with disabilities and would like the opportunity to post about your ministry passions and experiences, leave your contact info below and we’ll set up a date for you to post on the blog. We’re almost ready to share another incredibly exciting opportunity for leaders in disability ministry, but more on that later.
This past week, I reconnected with two fabulous ministry leaders doing great work with families of kids with special needs, and met in-person for the first time with another leader whose work I’ve come to know through her books and her website.
Marie Kuch is a former youth pastor and television host based in Orlando who leads Nathaniel’s Hope. I’d encourage you to check out their website. They offer high-quality training for churches interested in offering respite to families of kids with special needs through their “Buddy Breaks” and do a truly remarkable disability awareness event called “Make ‘m Smile” every June in which they shut down Downtown Orlando and throw a big party for 5,000 or folks who are loved by Jesus. Here’s a video from last month’s event:
Aaron Scheffler oversees domestic operations for Mark 2 Ministries. Mark 2 Ministries exists to encourage and equip the local church to evangelize, disciple, and integrate into their congregation individuals with disabilities. Aaron works to train and resource churches throughout Indiana and beyond to minister to families impacted by disabilities. and host regional meetings for disability ministry leaders and volunteers in greater Indianapolis to promote vision sharing.
Jolene Philo (pictured with her husband) is a former special education teacher and church staff member (she had served as her church’s Director of Assimilation and Discipleship) from Boone, Iowa who has written extensively about her experiences as a parent of a child with special medical needs. She was gracious enough to join our Key Ministry training at our most recent JAM Session in Des Moines last month, and she did a great job speaking at the CMX Expo last week in Lexington, KY. I was honored to have been asked to endorse her upcoming book, Different Dream Parenting, scheduled for release this coming October. Her new book offers lots of sound and practical advice to families embarking upon the experience of raising a child with special needs.
Over the coming weeks and months, we hope to meet (and introduce) many more leaders who are using their gifts, talents and passion to expand God’s Kingdom to include families of kids with both visible and hidden disabilities.
We can’t achieve inclusion without working together…great post, Steve!
Steve, I so enjoyed meeting you and Marie and reconnecting with Aaron. You are absolutely right about the need for unity and cooperation amongst those working with families of kids with special needs. Their need for the compassion and hope of Christ should be our motivation to work together.
Thanks for the kind words about Different Dream Parenting. Pray that it will be a benefit to parents and reach the hands of those who need it.
Does this mean we can count on you to do a guest post on or around the first of October?
Absolutely! It’s on the calendar.