Sometimes God just decides a church is going to have a particular ministry whether it asks for it or not. And since He is God, he gets to do that and doesn’t really need to ask anyone for permission! And for whatever reason, God has decided that the Living Stones Church is going to have a ministry for families and children with special needs. We didn’t ask for it. We didn’t pray for it. We didn’t set it as a part of some great “vision statement” / outreach plan. God just sent us a ton of families with children who have special needs. Like, percentage-wise, more than any church I know!!! (humility qualifier: I don’t know every church. :-) ).
What is strange about God’s plan is that I feel like we are an ill-equipped church for such a ministry. We don’t have many resources in regards to money, space, etc. But, I guess that doesn’t concern God at all.
What we do have is people like Amy Osterhout (she leads our children’s ministry) who before coming on staff at LSC served in the South Bend Community School Corporation as a special education teacher for 17 years. AND we have Melissa Holstein who has seven children (along with a husband who could at times qualify as one of her children :-) ) who has several children with autism and a PASSION to see families who need support get it! She started “precious stones” here several years ago for this very need. (sidenote: I don’t know anyone who lives with as much grace, humor, and endurance in the midst of their life circumstances than the Holsteins. Don’t tell them – but they are heroes to me). AND we have an entire children’s ministry team that in heart, life experience, or passion is second to none in regards to children with special needs.
SO…Here we go!! I guess we are beginning a venture to figure out how to be a church that is capable of ministering faithfully to families and children with special challenges that God has sent us. We don’t have everything figured out. But we’re going to try.
I got an e-mail this morning from Karen Roberts who works with Joni & Friends International Disability Center. It looks like we are going to learn as much from them as we can on how we are supposed to serve and minister well.
Speaking of heroes, Mike Cope who is one of my preaching heroes…like seriously…the man can preach in such a way that Scripture just comes to life…at his blog PreacherMike.com began today a series on “Church and Families With Specially Challenged Kids” and I know it is going to be great. You should check it out here. The above video is from his first post.