Faces of the movement…Jeff Davidson

In putting together Inclusion Fusion, our team very much enjoys the opportunity to connect with other individuals or ministries sharing our passion for including kids with disabilities and their families in the life of the local church. Jeff Davidson certainly falls into that category.

Jeff is the Founder and CEO of Rising Above Ministries, a pastor and communicator- a father of a child with special needs who was called by God to be a missionary to the special needs community based on his own experiences.  Jeff’s topic for Inclusion Fusion will be “Two-Gether.” He’ll talk about the differences in men and women as it relates to being parents of a child with special needs. He’ll discuss how men and women are wired differently, think differently, and react differently to being a parent of a child with special needs. Once parents understand one another’s differences and makeup we can take their relationships to a whole new level and be better equipped to serving the needs of their families.

The vision for Rising Above Ministries was birthed through the life of Jon Alex Davidson and the Davidson’s own experiences raising their son with special needs. In the fall of 2005, Jeff and Becky Davidson launched a monthly worship service for families of individuals with special needs in their hometown of Cookeville Tennessee. Soon the local ministry was providing faith-based support groups, weekly Bible studies, and regular family outings and activities as well.

The following year Rising Above held its first Easter “Eggstravaganza” for the special needs community in a local park and hundreds turned out from all over Middle Tennessee. With 12 egg hunts all modified for various special needs, games activities, and entertainment for all ages, the event demonstrated the overwhelming need to reach out to those with special needs.

As the ministry grew, more and more ambitious projects followed. Other signature events include the annual Hero’s Ball, special needs vacation Bible schools, sock hops, fall festivals, family movie nights, and other monthly family activities all specifically designed for special needs children and their families.

In 2010 God gave Jeff a clear vision and calling to expand Rising Above into a national ministry. Jeff and Becky stepped out to devote themselves full-time to the ministry. Since then, in addition to Cookeville, chapters and affiliates have been established in Nashville, Murfreesboro, Atlanta, and Birmingham. The chapters and affiliates all now minister in the same way as the original chapter in Cookeville.

This year the ministry conducted three Easter “Eggstravaganzas” in Cookeville, Nashville, and Murfreesboro the same day serving hundreds of middle Tennessee families.

In addition, the ministry now hosts national retreats and events such as “By The Brook” retreats for moms raising children with special needs, the Brookside one-day women’s events for moms of children with special needs, the “SOAR” men’s weekend experiences for dads of children with special needs, and the new “Two-gether” marriage retreats for couples raising a child with special needs.

Jeff’s blog is available here. Check out “The Razor”, posted on August 28th of this year.

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THREE DAYS TO GO! Join Jeff 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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