On behalf of the Board and staff of Key Ministry, I’d like to extend Best Wishes to our followers everywhere for a Blessed and Joyous New Year! Between now and the start of the new year on Friday, I’ll give you a sneak preview of what we have planned for 2016 and beyond and how you might consider joining us in our future adventures.
Since the start of this decade, we’ve been led to pursue a subtle, but critically important expansion of our mission. Here’s our original mission statement from early in 2003…
To build the Body of Christ by empowering churches to minister to families with children of hidden disabilities.
Here’s our revised mission statement from 2013…
Key Ministry provides knowledge, innovation and experience to the worldwide church as it ministers to and with families of children impacted by mental illness, trauma and developmental disabilities.
Here’s how we see our mission going forward…
Key Ministry promotes meaningful connection between churches and families of kids with disabilities for the purpose of making disciples of Jesus Christ.
Here’s what it means…We’ve historically focused all of our time, talent and treasure on resourcing and supporting churches for the first thirteen years of our existence. Our working assumption has been that churches drive the process. But if we’re called to be bridge builders between the church and families impacted by disability (with a special emphasis on families of kids with mental illness, trauma and developmental disabilities), it only makes sense to be building bridges capable of supporting traffic coming from both directions. Our challenge in the year ahead will expand by helping families impacted by disability connect with the rapidly growing movement of churches prepared to welcome them.
Working together with many like-minded ministry leaders and colleagues, we will be establishing a place for families looking for a church where they’ll be welcomed in 2016. We’re not yet sure what we’re going to call it yet, but we plan to launch our online site for families by April 1st. Here’s some of what it will include…
Not Alone … a top special needs ministry blog authored by twenty Christian parents raising kids with disabilities.
Online groups… Facebook communities (large groups built around common interests – diagnosis, education issues, adoption, etc.), Facebook groups (small to large, for adult education, book studies, Bible studies) and more intimate groups offered through videoconference-based technology. We’ll be linking families to established groups offered through great organizations like SNAPPIN’ MINISTRIES and starting new groups where the need exists. We’ll also help families access online groups offered by local churches.
Church connector… This is the most ambitious part of the plan. We’ll be establishing a volunteer-driven database (frequently updated by staff) of congregations across the U.S. prepared to welcome and support families impacted by disability in search of a local church.
Video podcasts and training events designed for parents of kids with disabilities who seek to raise all of their kids with a growing faith in Jesus Christ.
Online worship events featuring devotionals and teaching of specific interest to families impacted by disability.
Resource links… including church-based respite care, parent mentors, support for parents involved with adoption or foster care and educational videos to help parents better manage challenges of daily living when kids are impacted by common disabilities.
We’re going to need lots of help to accomplish the work we’ve been led to pursue in 2016. We’ll need lots of volunteers to connect with families looking for churches through the site. Expect to receive an invitation to participate if you serve on staff or volunteer at a church with an intentional disability inclusion ministry sometime in February.
We’re seeking to raise $25,000 in new support this year through our Annual Fund to help build the website, provide staff support to establish and maintain the church connector and online groups, support a continuous social media campaign to help families discover and make use of the site and to fund a pilot project using our Google Grant to identify strategies local churches might use to make connections with families impacted by disability in the communities they serve. We’ve been blessed with generous financial supporters who have made our ministry possible for the past thirteen years, but we’re very quickly reaching the limits of what we can accomplish without additional staff to support our volunteers, speakers and bloggers and to process the growing volume of requests we receive for consultation, training and information.
If you’ve been blessed with the financial resources to support the work of Key Ministry at the end of the year, you can give with PayPal, mail or credit card through our website, through our GoFundMe page or by texting a secure gift by smartphone to us at (440) 337-4338 through our Kindrid app.
To reach people no one else in reaching, we have to try stuff no one else is trying. The 40,000 plus visitors per month visiting our Church4EveryChild blog suggests that the need is great. Join us as we seek to extend the love of Christ to families everywhere for whom a child with a disability has too often been an insurmountable barrier to connecting with a local church.
Many of our 8,000+ friends who access this blog through the Key Ministry Facebook page see a small percentage of the content we post. In the event you missed something that was quite popular among your fellow readers, check out our ten most popular blog posts of 2015. Adoption, trauma and ADHD were quite the hot topics this past year!
Our team at Key Ministry looks forward to serving you, your church and your family in 2016!