What I want for Christmas…

I was working on the resource pages on mental health inclusion for our website that support our ministry’s soon to be released book for pastors and ministry leaders this past Friday morning when the phone rang.

A friend in another city was on the line. My wife and I support the ministry with students that she and her husband lead in their city.  My friends had hosted another family for Thanksgiving dinner who moved to their area in the last year or two. Their guests have an eight year old child with Down syndrome. In the course of conversation, my friends discovered that their guests were having a very difficult time finding a church prepared to welcome families of kids with a disability. My friend shared that their middle-school age daughter offered to be a “buddy” to her dinner companion at the church they attend if there were no other alternatives. She asked if our ministry knew of churches in her city that she could recommend to her dinner guests. One church came to mind immediately, and our Key Ministry team kicked into gear to find some more suggestions.

That’s what Key Ministry does. Whether it’s a family struggling to find a place to worship because of a child or teen with an emotional or behavioral condition, adoptive parents looking for a congregation to come alongside them while raising a child dealing with the lingering effects of trauma or neglect or a mom and dad parenting a child with a developmental or intellectual disability, we help connect churches and families of kids with disabilities for the purpose of making disciples of Jesus Christ.

We give churches the free training and resources they need to welcome families of kids in their community with a broad range of disabilities. We travel to conferences and present monthly trainings online. We use our online groups and web platforms to help connect families with churches. We have a dedicated team of writers who are an ongoing source of encouragement and support to families experiencing the challenges associated with raising a child with a disability.

In the coming year, we plan to host a disability ministry conference in Northeast Ohio to train hundreds of church staff and volunteers from congregations across the U.S. We’re presenting the first comprehensive inclusion model for churches seeking to welcome families of children and adults with mental illness. We’re discussing a significant expansion of our family support ministry. We’ll continue to expand the range of free resources that has drawn over 179,000 unique visitors to our website thus far in 2017 and over 2.5 million page views to date to our blogs for church leaders and families. And we’ll continue to be very responsible stewards of the resources God provides through our ministry supporters.

We’re currently running a deficit of approximately $5,000 in 2017. Thanks to a large team of extraordinarily dedicated volunteers and a small but extremely productive staff, we’re on track to do our work this year for less than $60,000. If we were able to raise $100,000 in support over the next twelve months, we could easily double or triple the reach of our ministry and host the most impactful disability ministry conference in North America in 2018.

I have what I need this Christmas. What I want is for our Key Ministry team to have the resources to help families impacted by disability to find what they most need… a church where every member of the family might come to know Jesus and grow in faith in him. Thanks for your prayers, encouragement and financial support!

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KM_ForFamilies_Logo_Color_RGBKey Ministry helps connect churches and families of kids with disabilities for the purpose of making disciples of Jesus Christ. In order to provide the free training, consultation, resources and support we offer daily to church leaders and families, we depend upon the prayers and generous financial support of readers like you. Please pray for the work of our ministry and consider a financial gift to help us cover our shortfall in 2017 and expand the work of our ministry in 2018 and beyond!

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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