Published: December 27, 2023
Amazing things happen when we invite people with special needs to minister to others.
As I sit at my desk and write this, my younger sister Annette—an adult with special needs—is parked in a nearby cubicle, helping our marketing team with a project. Well, she’s supposed to be helping. Co-workers keep popping by her “office” with cheery greetings, warm hugs, and even a soda! Most folks are sure to tell Annette they’re glad she could make it today, which is true because she’s usually too busy volunteering at church or a local senior day care to lend a hand around Group.
Gifts to Give
Adults, teens, and middle schoolers with disabilities are a volunteering gold mine too often overlooked. We pour time and effort into ministering to kids with special needs, but frequently forget that they have countless gifts to give. As kids with special needs “age out” of children’s ministry, it’s important that we give them opportunities to feel like part of the body of Christ. Just like the rest of us, people with disabilities need to feel loved, valued, and important. We all need a purpose—youth and adults with special needs aren’t any different.
In Annette’s case, all it took was a children’s pastor who was willing to take the chance and let Annette serve in the nursery during women’s morning Bible study. She trained Annette and paired her with a capable leader. Soon, Annette was a regular, smiling presence in the toddler class, then at a local preschool, and today at a senior day care.
Those service opportunities way back in middle school have shaped Annette’s view of herself today. She knows that she’s a vital part of the body of Christ. She’s giving, sharing, and receiving God’s love every week. Just one incredible outcome of letting special needs people minister.
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