Special Needs Ministry (A Resource Post)

I know that I have spent the last two weeks on the topic of special needs ministry. As much as I enjoyed sharing my personal story, however, I thought it might be helpful to offer a list of resources for those of you who may be interested in pursuing this idea at your own place of worship.

Most of the books and all of the organizations listed are focused on Christian churches, primarily because that is what I am familiar with. I am sure much of the information can be adapted to other faiths or places of worship, but if you know of a specific resource that would be helpful to others, please feel free to list it in the comments.

Special Needs Ministry Resources: This is an amazon.com book list put together by one of the site’s users, and it has a wide range of books related to this topic.

A couple of other books I have read and would personally recommend are:

  • A Place Called Acceptance by Kathleen Deyer Bolduc. This is a very easy read and is designed to help people become aware of some of the basic issues and start thinking about how to get started. It is out of print but can be ordered from her website.
  • Autism and Your Church by Barbara J. Newman. This is actually a book that comes out of Friendship Ministries, which has a lot more resources to help you get started.

Some organizations that offer resources and other help to get started:

  • Friendship Ministries – an international, inter-denominational ministry who have helped churches and parishes from various denominations over the last 25 years
  • Joni and Friends International Disability Center – especially their Through the Roof program, which offers “disability awareness, training, resources, and support for churches, ministry leaders and workers as they develop, maintain or expand their disability programs.”
  • Handi*Vangelism Ministries International – an organization that works “with people around the world who have disabilities, medical or mental health challenges or broken hearts so that they may become growing and serving members of the body of Christ.” In addition to special needs and mental health issues, a section of their ministry focuses on those who are grieving.

I also wanted to give a special mention to I blog, therefore I am, which is written by one of our readers, Amazing Grace. In it, she shares her experience as a CCD teacher in the Catholic church and has several posts on the topic of special needs. She also links to another great resource, Ministering to People with Special Needs, from the Assemblies of God Discipleship Ministries Agency website.

I hope this is a helpful list and that our churches will continue to wake up and see the needs that are out there to be met. As I once said at my lowest point, “Church should not be the hardest place to be.”

Trish can be found writing here at 5MFSN every Friday in addition to hosting Try This Tuesday. You can also find Trish at her blog, Another Piece of the Puzzle.

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