Special Needs Ministry & The Church
Even before I became a member at College Park, I knew I wanted to get involved in a ministry area that provides Christ-centered discipleship and community for the servants and those being served. This is exactly what I found in the Special Needs Ministry, which I have been a part of in some capacity since 2016.
By God’s provision and the abundantly generous hearts of our leaders, we are able to offer Sunday school programming and other events for children in our midst with various types of disabilities. I am continually grateful for the individual attention that our church allows us to give each child so their needs are met and their potential is realized. I have had the privilege of serving in various roles, including as a buddy for children able to attend regular classes and as a volunteer in our child and young adult classrooms dedicated specifically to our individuals with our special needs. Through these experiences, with the sum of both joys and difficulties, God has shed new light for me on what it means to help ignite a passion to follow Jesus.
Two themes that resound in my heart when pondering the Special Needs Ministry are that the gospel is for everyone (Rom. 10:13) and the Word of God will never return to him void (Isa. 55:11).
I am prone to forget our true mission, to treat this ministry as a simple childcare service, for this might be easier. But I have been continually reminded that the sweet children we serve—despite any difference in their physical, social, or cognitive abilities—are precious in God’s sight and can take his truth to heart.
This past school year, I had the privilege of being a buddy to one of our third-grade boys. We had several highlights throughout the year, including a time when we showed a video made by his school to all his Sunday morning classmates and gave them time to ask questions and get to know him better. On another Sunday morning—one when I was wrongfully wondering if what we were doing mattered—this same child surprised me and his table leader. The class was taking an offering for the Pregnancy Resource Center, and he decided to donate all of his savings to the cause instead of buying a new video game. God was and is at work in the heart of this dear child.
According to Philippians 2: 10-11, “at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow, in Heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” God’s Word is clear: the children we serve will bow at Jesus’s feet and confess him as Lord, and I pray that we can continue to minister to them that they may do so in this lifetime. To God be the glory!