As ministry leaders, we believe every person matters to God. And as leaders who think Orange, we know the importance of the family in shaping the heart of each individual. But what do we do when a family walks through our doors that we’re not quite sure how to engage?

In today’s episode, we focus on the role special needs ministry can play in reaching families in our communities. Our guests for this conversation all attend the same church and have unique perspectives on this topic from both sides of the fence. Tom and Alica Parsons share what it’s like to be the parents of a kid with special needs, and Meaghan Wall joins us for an interview on what the church can do to come alongside families like the Parsons. We hope you’ll be inspired to see new ways to serve every family that walks through your church’s doors this week.

Welcome to Episode 15 of the Think Orange Podcast.

Topic Timeline:

Conversation with Tom and Alica Parsons (1:50)

The Parsons tell of two diametrically opposed church experiences (3:35)

Connect with every child on a level he or she can learn from (6:03)

Remove all negative talk (8:41)

Make it a priority for your volunteers to get to know the kids they minister to outside of church on Sunday (11:00)

Minister to every individual with the awareness that they have a soul (16:15)

Alica and Tom tell the story of their son Dane accepting God’s gift of salvation (19:30)

Interview with Meaghan Wall (22:53)

Meaghan started in special needs ministry by working at an Easterseals’ summer camp (23:07)

How Meaghan came to be on staff at Stonebriar Community Church (27:05)

Why churches should have a special needs ministry (28:43)

What parents who have children with special needs are facing that church leaders need to be aware of (30:17)

How churches that don’t currently have a separate special needs ministry can serve families in their communities (32:42)

What we can do to help families feel welcome in our environments and keep communication open (37:07)

The wins a church can experience by having a special needs ministry (41:00)

What church leaders can do to encourage families with special needs (42:53)

Ashley’s closing thoughts (44:39)