Late this past winter, I came across a new special needs ministry blog from Shannon Dingle. For all of my faults, I have a pretty good track record as a talent evaluator. The content on Shannon’s blog was really good. We made connections by e-mail and Facebook, and I realized that Shannon has become a highly valued friend and colleague of our team at Key Ministry even though I’ve never actually met her in person, much less spoken over the phone.
Our team has tapped into Shannon’s wisdom and discernment on many occasions while planning Inclusion Fusion. We’re extremely pleased that Shannon will be doing two presentations for Inclusion Fusion. Her first presentation will be on the topic: Common Misconceptions about Special Needs Ministry.
As more churches engage in special needs ministry, we need to take time to dispel some of the more common myths. In Shannon’s first session, she’ll discuss common misconceptions and half-truths about special needs ministry, and participants will leave with practical tools and tips to use at their churches. Myths to be discussed include (1) disability ministry is a children’s ministry endeavor, (2) you don’t need to bother until you have someone with special needs come to your church, (3) you must use one particular model, (4) you need a special education professional to run it, (5) it’s just too hard (or, the flipside, “it’s easy”), (6) it’s just another program, (7) it’s all about ministering to people with disabilities, and (8) it’s optional.
Shannon’s second presentation will afford her an opportunity to speak on another topic she’s passionate about…Disability, the Sanctity of Life, and the Church.
In Psalm 78:6, we are instructed to share the works of God with children, “that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn…” Church leaders are motivated to engage in disability ministry because we desire to include those with special needs in our congregations, both the current generations and those to come. However, when we consider Psalm 78:6 as well as the call in Matthew 25 to care for “the least of these,” we must recognize that the individuals with disabilities who are most vulnerable among us are those yet unborn. In this presentation, Shannon will examine Bible verses about the sanctity of life and unpack the ramifications this has for both our understanding disability and our reaction to the rates of abortion of babies with disabilities. Practical ideas for showing the sanctity of all life in your church and to your community will also be discussed. The intended audience for this session is all Christians, not just those currently engaged with the disability community.
We suspect you’ll come away from Inclusion Fusion as impressed with Shannon as the rest of our Key Ministry team.
Shannon, along with more than twenty leaders in children’s ministry and disability ministry are coming together on November 3rd-5th to put on a FREE Special Needs Ministry Web Summit to connect church staff, volunteers, family members and caregivers everywhere. That’s Inclusion Fusion, Key Ministry’s First Annual Special Needs Ministry Web Summit, featuring Keynote Speaker Chuck Swindoll. Register here for the Summit!