Finding Friendship…Christen Morrow-Ara

Christen MorrowDuring the month leading up to Inclusion Fusion, we’ll be introducing you to a number of disability ministry leaders doing great work who will be featured during this year’s Web Summit. Today, it’s our pleasure to introduce Christen Morrow-Ara. Christen was interviewed together with Pam Harmon from Young Life Capernaum for this year’s conference.

Christen has served with Young Life’s Capernaum ministry since her college years as a volunteer and on full time staff for 12 years, developing Capernaum ministry in Fresno, California, throughout Latin America and most recently serving as the Transition Specialist with the mission wide Capernaum team. Christen is an leader, speaker, and an advocate, butmostly she would say she has been privileged to be shaped by her friends with disabilities since childhood and she’s passionate about sharing those friends with the world and with the Church! Christian and her Peruvian husband live in Clovis, California and are excited to be welcoming their first child into he world this October. Christen can be reached at Here’s Christen…

Thank you, Dr. Steve and Inclusion Fusion for what you’re doing to move disability ministry forward in churches and communities around the country. We’re grateful for the opportunity to share here on your blog! We are with you in vision and passion, especially when we speak of churches!

CapernaumYoung Life’s Capernaum’s outreach ministry to teenagers with disabilities addresses the incredible need for friendship among our teenagers with disabilities. It’s the hallmark of what we do (along with laughter, controlled chaos, games and lots of joy) and the platform from which we present the gospel. Many of our Capernaum friends come from unchurched homes and have never heard the good news about a God who loves them, has created them as they are for a purpose, and wants them to know Him personally.

Because of the unique emphasis on relationship and the friendships built, our friends struggle to find a similar place for spiritual community or belonging outside of Capernaum. However, our older friends who met Jesus in high school and have been coming for many years need more. They need age appropriate community, friendships, dignity and need to be challenged to the next step in their walk with Christ as a part of the body of Christ. The challenge is finding churches that are prepared to welcome our friends and offer more than a simple program to them-relationships and a place in the life of the church.

YL LogoWe’ve begun to identify and collaborate with ministries and models of ministry around the country being done with adults so that we can learn and prepare our friends, prepare churches and help smooth the process of transition in an already challenging time when many of our friends’ services have dropped off and they experience isolation. This is precisely the time when the body of Christ can welcome our friends and experience the truth of I Corinthians 12:18-21; “But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it.How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body.The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”

Not only do we believe that our friends will find a place to belong at a time in life when they may be losing parents, moving into group homes and losing contact with teachers, peers, and those who have been constant on their lives, but we know that the body of Christ will become more complete, more whole, and more alive when they experience the uniqueness and joy of our friends in their midst.

Join us for Inclusion Fusion and learn with us the heart behind these transitions, how we are approaching it, where it is working well, and how you can perhaps be a part of creating a place in your church to welcome our friends and make them a part of the life of your church.

Click here to check out Young Life’s Capernaum ministry.


12_JONI_SPEAKING_0001Join keynote speaker Joni Earackson Tada and 20+ leaders representing the scope of the disability ministry movement this coming November 12-13 for Inclusion Fusion 2014, Key Ministry’s FREE, worldwide disability ministry web summit. Engage in interactive chat with many of our speakers and watch each presentation at the time of day that works best for you in the environment in which you’re most comfortable. Click here for FREE registration.

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.
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