The Special Needs Ministry App…Mike Woods

Mike Woods and his team at First Baptist Orlando have developed and released (free of charge) The Special Friends App for iOS and Android, the first (and only) app I’ve seen for parents of kids with special needs interested in promoting the faith development of their children. Yesterday, we shared the first part of an interview with Mike about the Special Friends App and his upcoming presentation for Inclusion Fusion. Here’s Part Two…

SG: Are there two or three “must-see” resources on the app for families of kids with special needs?

MW: There are a handful of resources available on the special needs ministry app:  blogs, podcasts, videos, tweets, and links to other special needs ministries that support families (like Key Ministry!) to name a few.  The “must see” resources or what I consider to be the backbone of our app are the podcasts and videos.  There are two types of podcasts on the app.  The first is found under the LISTEN tab and these are podcasts that are focus on parenting and spiritual development type of topics.  The second type of podcast is found under the GROW tab and these are podcasts that are inspirational and focused on encouraging parents in their daily walk with the Lord.  Our videos are found under the WATCH tab and are instructional.  Parents (and special needs ministry volunteers) will find videos on visual schedules, crisis intervention, first-then boards, and more.  Both podcasts and videos are designed to be listened to or watched in under 20-minutes.

SG: How do you hope families will make use of the app?

MW: The primary way that I hope parents will make use of our app is as a daily or weekly resource for encouragement and for ideas to nurture their child’s faith.  Parents of children with special needs are b-u-s-y!  The goal is not to engage parents to do all things related to strengthening their child’s faith!  The app is designed to support parents in discovering one small thing that they can do, one small step that they can take to help their child become who God wants them to be.

SG: Now that the app has been available for a number of weeks, what type of feedback have you received from parents and families?

MW: We’ve received mostly positive feedback from parents about the special needs ministry app.  100% of this positive feedback has been from parents who have not yet found a church that can provide the type of support they need in order for their entire family to attend.  They are grateful for this resource because their child’s spiritual development is a priority for them.  We’ve also received some constructive criticism and that’s okay too.  This type of feedback helps us to understand what’s working and what’s not working for parents and allow us to make adjustments to the app.  One adjustment that was made based on feedback was to make some of our resources that we use in our Special Friends classroom at First Baptist Orlando available thru the app.

SG: What additional resources do you hope to provide when updates are available?

MW: The special needs ministry app is so new that we’re still tweaking and improving what we are currently doing with it.  We haven’t given too much consideration just yet to what types of additional resources that we could provide.  The one idea that we’re kicking around is how to tie the app in with Google Hangouts so that we could develop communities of support for parents who need to connect with other parents.

The Special Friends Ministry app from First Baptist Orlando is available through iTunes by clicking on the icon in the right sidebar of this blog. Click here for a link to download the app from the Android Marketplace.


Join Mike and over 30 leaders from children’s, family, youth and disability ministry serving as faculty for Inclusion Fusion, Key Ministry’s second annual Special Needs Ministry Web Summit. Inclusion Fusion is made available FREE OF CHARGE to pastors, church staff, volunteers and families everywhere from November 12th-16th, 2012. For an up to date list of speakers, topics, links to speaker blogs and a link for free registration, click here.

About Dr. G

Dr. Stephen Grcevich serves as President and Founder of Key Ministry, a non-profit organization providing free training, consultation, resources and support to help churches serve families of children with disabilities. Dr. Grcevich is a graduate of Northeastern Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), trained in General Psychiatry at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at University Hospitals of Cleveland/Case Western Reserve University. He is a faculty member in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at two medical schools, leads a group practice in suburban Cleveland (Family Center by the Falls), and continues to be involved in research evaluating the safety and effectiveness of medications prescribed to children for ADHD, anxiety and depression. He is a past recipient of the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Dr. Grcevich was recently recognized by Sharecare as one of the top ten online influencers in children’s mental health. His blog for Key Ministry, was ranked fourth among the top 100 children's ministry blogs in 2015 by Ministry to Children.
This entry was posted in Autism, Families, Hidden Disabilities, Inclusion, Inclusion Fusion, Resources, Strategies and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Special Needs Ministry App…Mike Woods

  1. John says:

    Mike has given free of cost special friends app for all smartphones. All he want to do is help families to make use of this app. Great works Mike hope you will keep helping mobile app users with all latest updates releases.


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