Connecting with the Community: Stepping Outside the Church to Grow Your Ministry

Elle's Castle sign-inEditor’s Note: Today’s post is from Beth Golik, Special Needs Ministry Director at Bay Presbyterian Church. It was inspired by a story Beth shared three weeks ago in our church’s bulletin. Here’s Beth… 

As churches, we look for ways to extend beyond the walls of our physical buildings and existing congregations to expand the kingdom.

Partnering with community organizations opens up avenues for our churches to connect with families impacted by special needs. When your ministry shows up in the secular world, it demonstrates to families that your church is a place where they are welcome and loved.

Golik post 2Recently, our church was the first host site for a Guinness World Record attempt for creating the world’s largest fingerprint painting aimed at raising awareness for playgrounds that are accessible for everyone, including those with disabilities.

Although the event promoted Elle’s Enchanted Forest ~ A  Playground for Everyone, it provided our special needs ministry with visibility well beyond the typical displays that Sunday morning worshipers see. The event was seen not just by our congregation, but by hundreds more outside the walls of our church through social media. Each fingerprint represents a potential connection being made to our ministry.

Golik 3Twice a year, our ministry takes part at public events designed for families with children with special needs (and children who struggle but have not been formally diagnosed) to learn about local resources, therapies and after-school programs. At a recent event, we were the only church represented out of 60 public and private organizations. Being there allowed us to reach another layer of the community: parents who had given up on the opportunity to attend worship together and grow in their faith.

Golik 4Inviting the public in is another way to connect with families and show them the love of Christ. At Bay Pres, we hold Respite Events, which offer a night of fun for children with special needs and their siblings while their parents enjoy a much-needed break for the evening. We average 60 guests and 150 volunteers during the two and a half hour event. While we are blessed to have a large facility and large volunteer base, smaller scale events are just as meaningful for participants. Our Respite Events allow us to minister to families beyond those we serve on Sunday mornings. However, through these events we often gain at least one new student and/or volunteer for our Sunday morning programs.

13239939_945957832188326_6827497849235245252_nIt doesn’t matter what size your church is; there are ways for you to connect with the community and to make families feel welcomed. If you’re just starting out, get to know people by taking a team of church volunteers to a community event. If your church already has a special needs ministry, offer your building as a venue for an event that supports the community. Keep a presence in the community and talk with your pastors about ways that a special needs ministry enhances the church and acts to connect people into the family of faith.


shutterstock_24510829Key Ministry is pleased to make available our FREE disability ministry 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.
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3 Responses to Connecting with the Community: Stepping Outside the Church to Grow Your Ministry

  1. denish aron says:

    kindly help me train childrens with disabilitty. may grace of our god be with you.

    On Sun, May 15, 2016 at 3:29 PM, Church4EveryChild wrote:

    > Dr. G posted: “Editor’s Note: Today’s post is from Beth Golik, Special > Needs Ministry Director at Bay Presbyterian Church. It was inspired by a > story Beth shared three weeks ago in our church’s bulletin. Here’s Beth… > As churches, we look for ways to extend beyond th” >


  2. positiveiam says:

    I so completely love your vision and your heart! Thank you for being here. I pray many churches catch on. So many families in our special community feel trapped as though they can not attend church due to their children’s needs and behaviors. I am so excited to find your ministry.


    • Dr. G says:

      We like Beth’s vision too! We just hired her to be the operations director for our ministry… but she’s keeping her special needs ministry job at Bay too!


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