Success! What our Preschool Minister Did Right
Christine Hoover, mother of a child with autism, penned this excellent piece sharing how her church’s preschool minister (Sherry Maggard at Central Baptist Church in College Station, TX) embraced her and took steps to successfully include her son in the children’s ministry programming. Thank you Christine for sharing this!
When my son was diagnosed with autism, my husband and I immediately told the preschool minister at our church. Her response over the months that followed proved effective and endearing. Our son received excellent care in her ministry. Here is what she did:
- She took responsibility for my son’s care within the church. My husband and I did not have to advocate for our son, fight to have his needs met, answer for his behavior, struggle for his inclusion, or communicate his needs to each new worker. She did it all for us. We felt like we were in partnership with a strong, capable ministry staff.
- She included him. He was not labeled and then shoved off into a room alone with a worker. He learned alongside the appropriate aged group and attended any events and programs we elected for him to participate in. She was not afraid of my son or of the challenges he introduced to her ministry.
- She loved him. Every Sunday and Wednesday, she stood at the preschool ministry counter and greeted parents and children. Without fail, she cheerily welcomed my son even though he rarely made eye contact or responded. When I returned after church, she reported the sweet or funny things he said and did in his classroom, letting me know she had checked in on him. Through those short interactions, she proved her love for him and reassured me of his wellbeing while I was away.
- She ministered to me. On a Wednesday evening soon after my son’s diagnosis, as I entered the preschool area with my two boys, my son start a melt down. With such difficulty getting into church, I was close to tears. The preschool minister quickly came to my aid and, with my permission, whisked my younger typical son off to his class while I dealt with the melt down. There were also many times she emailed me with a reminder she was praying for me and for my son, even sharing promises from Scripture that spoke to my situation.
Children’s pastors and their teams have countless opportunities for ministry to children with special needs and their families. I have been the recipient of a children’s pastor’s faithful service and it has made an impact on my family. The small acts of love within the children’s ministry are incredibly valuable. Galatians 6:10 says it best: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
Like this post or any of its content? See the blog entry “Rules for Repost”
– Christine Hoover
Christine Hoover is a church pastor’s wife and mother of a son diagnosed with high-functioning autism. For more on Christine Hoover and her writing, see findinghopeinautism.blogspot.com