IMG_0815When I pulled into the parking lot of my church 45 minutes before the scheduled start of yesterday’s Northeast Ohio Special Needs Ministry Conference hosted by Bay Presbyterian Church and saw the lot looked like Sunday morning, I knew we were in for a very unique day.

Well in excess of 300 people spent their Saturday brainstorming how the church might more effectively welcome individuals and families impacted by disability. The folks I met over the weekend were very enthusiastic.

Not only would it appear that God is preparing something big in Northeast Ohio, but elsewhere as well. We were filming some future training with Barb Newman in front of a intimate audience on Friday afternoon. Out of the dozen or so guests, two were from Ohio, and two thirds came from 7+ hours away. Here’s Pastor Gary Wynn from Bridgeton, NJ…

Luz Roa and Melissa Rodriguez were among five women who drove together from Manhattan to attend the conference…

Cathy Calloway came 748 miles from Lakeville, Minnesota to be with us…

Here’s what I’ll remember from the weekend…

  • IMG_0751I’m so encouraged to see so many people from throughout our home region willing to spend a day examining how we can more effectively welcome kids, families and adults impacted by disability into our churches.
  • The experience of seeing so many very talented people coming together seamlessly while using their gifts and talents for a common purpose was truly unique. We had some very good speakers this past weekend. There was no evidence of any pride or ego. The support team from the church was flawless in pulling off a respite event for fifty kids, a dinner for the parents of the kids attending respite and a conference for over 300 attendees the following day. Including snacks and lunch. All for free.
  • Everybody I encountered seemed happy. Especially the kids attending Friday night’s respite event.

IMG_0828A huge thank you to everyone involved! Emily Colson did a fabulous job as Keynote speaker. Barb Newman (as always) had wonderful, practical advice for including kids with disabilities at church. We’re very much looking forward to sharing two of her presentations from Friday through in the upcoming months. Two current Board members (Carrie Lupoli and Libby Peterson) along with a former Board member (Dr. Cara Daily) are very gifted presenters in their own right. Deb Petermann from Joni and Friends Ohio, Ryan Wolfe of First Christian Church, Canton and Christine Boyle offered a well-rounded program.

Most of all, I am so proud of my church! Our Special Needs Ministry Director (Beth Golik) and our Children’s Ministry Director (Julie Hazlett) did a truly remarkable job organizing and directing dozens of volunteers as plans for a conference for fifty regional leaders mushroomed in size and scope. I’ll leave it to one of our teaching pastors (Matt Guertin) to explain what the weekend was all about…


shutterstock_24510829Key Ministry is pleased to make available our FREE consultation service to pastors, church leaders and ministry volunteers. Got questions about launching a ministry that you can’t answer…here we are! Have a kid you’re struggling to serve? Contact us! Want to kick around a problem with someone who’s “been there and done that?” Click here to submit a request!

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 Advocacy, Hidden Disabilities, Inclusion, Key Ministry, Stories, Training Events and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Wow!

  1. That’s GREAT NEWS Steve! It is so exciting to see God at work in his people all across the country.


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