In honor of Autism Awareness Month, we’re honored to share with you the second guest post from Mike Woods… Special Needs Ministry Director at First Baptist Church of Orlando. For more info on Mike, click here.
Today, Mike continues his discussion from Tuesday on the process that his ministry staff and volunteers use to develop relationships with each child and adult with autism or other special needs they minister to.
One of the primary outcomes for each team member in our Special Friends Ministry is to develop relationships with each and every child and adult with special needs that we minister to. The process that we use to develop a relationship is called C3 (Comfort, Confirm, Challenge) and is derived from the many interactions between Jesus and people with disabilties in the Gospels.
It’s been my experience with my son who is on the severe end of the autism spectrum, and other children with special needs, that developing a relationship with a child on the spectrum can be challenging (but worth it!).
Christianity is about entering into relationships with people…to include children with autism and other special needs. And in order to be able to do that, it’s important to be familiar with how Jesus, the Master of developing relationships, interacted with people. That’s why we use what I call the C3 model: Comfort, Confirm, Challenge that’s based on His interactions with people with disabilities.
The first “C” in the C3 model is “Comfort” and I discussed this first step in the relational building process in a previous blog post. The second “C” in the C3 model stands for ”Confirm.” This second step in the process focuses on establishing and sustaining for children/adults the truth that their worth and value isn’t based on what they can or can’t do…it’s grounded in God’s love for them and the fact that they are created in His image!
There are over 20 references in the Gospels that teach us something about how Jesus confirmed someone with a disability. If you look at these interactions I believe that there are 4 important “ingredients” that Christ modeled for us. As we facilitate confirming a person’s worth and value we need to identify what these ingredients were so that as “imitators of Christ” we can be more nurturing towards the individuals we serve.
Here’s the Special Friends Ministry video presentation on the process of confirming a child’s worth and value. Make sure to click subscribe or “like’ our facebook page in order to be notified when the next video presentation is published!
Sunday: Dr. Grcevich’s series continues with tips for church staff and volunteers serving kids with Asperger’s Disorder.