There are many reasons that you should welcome those with special needs to your church. But today, we will focus on why you should NOT welcome my special needs child to your church.
- You should NOT welcome my special needs child if you believe the Holy Spirit is only able to work in the hearts of some people, but not others. Church leaders, I want to encourage you that your job is to teach God’s Word, trusting that the Holy Spirit will do exactly what He promised to do: “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit – the Father will send Him in My name – will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.” – John 14:26, HCSB. Share a Bible story, tell these children of Jesus’ love, tell them how God created them with a plan and perfect purpose! Then, trust that the Holy Spirit is going fulfill His promise. God’s Word does not return void (Isaiah 55:11). It is not man’s job to determine who is able to be reached by God’s Holy Word.
- You should NOT welcome my special needs child to your church if you believe that church is not a place for the “messy.” Jesus placed His hands into the wounds of the hurt, surrounded Himself with the “unclean,” and cared for the broken. Jesus knew that ministry is messy. Special needs ministry is messy too. There is nothing cute about changing a seven-year-old’s poopy diaper. It is not glamorous to wipe drool or help change soiled clothes. Welcoming those with special needs into your church might be a little noisy, require volunteers, cost your church money, and it WILL be messy. What if Church was a place where those who cannot care for themselves would be cared for? What if Church could be a haven for the “messy”?
- You should NOT welcome my special needs child to your church if you do not recognize that “Special Needs” is a mission field. An overwhelming majority of special needs families do not attend church. I understand why. It’s the look of panic on the church worker’s face when they see your child. It’s wondering if I can truly say, “let’s go to church and learn about Jesus!” or if my child will actually just be sitting in a room while the volunteer nervously watches the clock. It’s wondering if anyone would actually be able to relate to your family. There is a mission field of families with special needs who are just waiting to be accepted. This is not a mission trip your church can simply donate to or visit for one week and walk away. Special needs ministry is a continuous labor of love. Who will take up this cause? We are falling into the cracks, unnoticed.
- You should NOT welcome my special needs child to your church if you believe that God does not specially call every member of the body of Christ to serve. Many parents are searching for a church that will look upon our special needs child as an important part of the body of Christ. We are also searching for a church that will allow us the opportunity to serve. In many ways, special needs families are being “cut off” from the body of Christ.
The truth is, I wish you would welcome my special needs child to your church. The Church has a great opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus. It will take work and it will be messy, but it will be so worth it.
“And the King will answer them, ‘I assure you:, Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’” –Matthew 25:40
Nichole Huggins is a wife and mother of two. As the parent of a special needs child, Nichole willingly discloses the trials, triumphs, and life lessons of having a child with Autism. She writes at www.LoveinaDifferentLanguage.com where she offers insight and hope as she shares about parenting, Autism, and the faith that holds it together.