Equipping Ministry Leaders for Special Needs Inclusion
There is great opportunity to educate churches for better disability inclusion. My passion is in equipping active ministry leaders called to shepherd their church through an inclusion initiative (God does that calling…not me). As a writer and sometimes speaker, I see my role somewhat akin to a research assistant. Back in graduate school, I was a research assistant to an accounting professor at the University of Alabama (Roll Tide!)*. I didn’t have to convince this professor that he needed to be current on the latest legal and societal trends in accounting practices. What he lacked was the time to scour the periodicals, websites, and newspapers hunting for relevant information. That’s where he relied on me. It was my responsibility to search for and then “package” the news he needed in order to remain informed. This professor made for a better educator as long as I was doing my part in keeping him up to date in his area of expertise.
My goal with this blog and all my writing is similar to my purpose years ago as a graduate level research assistant. Thankfully I’m not reviewing the latest FASB ruling (Financial Accounting Standards Board), and instead I’m interviewing special education professionals, special needs parents, and experienced ministry leaders. I present my research and my own personal views from the lens of a longtime children’s ministry volunteer and the daughter of a church senior pastor. Indeed I am not nor should I ever be the only source a church leader relies on for educating themselves for better special needs inclusion. There are others who’ve been active in this sphere longer than me (like Barb Newman of CLC Network) and it is great to see a growing number of experienced equippers lend their voice to this area of ministry.
So here’s what I’ve been talking about on some other websites in recent days:
Orange Leaders, posted “Leading through the A’s of Special Needs Inclusion” where I talk about a 3-prong approach to inclusion: Acceptance, Accommodation & Advancement (Spiritual)
Need Project.org’s Bob West (a Focus on the Family alumnus) invited me to participate in a podcast where we talked about how a family can approach their church to expand their special needs accommodation.
On CMConnect Blog Talk Radio, I hosted Katie Garvert of Woodmen Valley Chapel (Colorado Springs, CO). Katie provided a power-packed 30-minute interview on training special needs ministry volunteers.
On a personal note, today is the last day of school in my small Atlanta suburb of Cumming, GA. This morning I waved goodbye to the cutest kindergarten-aged boy, knowing that in a few short weeks I’ll be bidding a daily adieu to a budding first grader. Tomorrow we begin a busy summer schedule that includes working two vacation Bible schools, time with my Birmingham family, and a few speaking engagements. Through the summer I may be a little less regular with my blog posts so be sure to keep up through The Inclusive Church’s Facebook fan page. On Facebook, I frequently post links out to other resources and articles of interest.
Wishing you all a summer full of experiences that draw you into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ! ~ Amy
* Yes, I have a master’s degree in accounting and am a CPA (inactive). And No, I cannot help you do your taxes. Candidly, my husband does our family taxes because I hate accounting. I suspect that an unnamed and reputable accounting firm breathed a big sigh of relief the day I formally excused myself from their industry! That’s another story for another blog. (Sending oodles of love to my great friends at E&Y who graciously put up with me years ago!)