Faces of the Movement…Nella Uitvlugt from Friendship Ministries

Nella Uitvlugt is one of the leading advocates in the church for inclusive ministry to adults with intellectual disabilities. She was at the top of our list of speakers we wanted for last year’s inaugural Inclusion Fusion. We’re glad that God has provided Nella to be part of this year’s Web Summit via video. She’ll be presenting on the topic Ministering Beside Adults with Intellectual Disabilities.

Churches need to plan for ministry to adults with intellectual disabilities. In Nella’s talk, viewers will learn how church members can walk alongside adults with intellectual disabilities, creating an environment of mutual growth in their faith journey together. Friendship Ministries has been doing that for 30 years through relationships developed within a Bible Study setting that enables our “friends” to become active members of God’s family.

Nella is the Executive Director of Friendship Ministries, an interdenominational organization for people with Intellectual Disabilities. She is also the Past-President of the Religion and Spirituality Division of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, served on the leadership team of the National Council of Churches in Christ Committee on Disabilities, and the Advisory Committee of the CRCNA Disability Concerns Committee. She consults with pastors and congregations, giving presentations in both the US and Canada regarding the spiritual needs of people with intellectual disabilities. Nella has received the Christian Service Award from Bethesda Lutheran Communities.

Here’s an example of Nella’s teaching…a presentation she developed for Friendship Ministries earlier this month on the topic of Autism and Children’s Ministry…

For more information on Nella and the work of her team at Friendship Ministries, check out their website or their Facebook page.


Join Nella 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, www.church4everychild.org was ranked fourth among the top 100 children's ministry blogs in 2015 by Ministry to Children.
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