The Inclusive Church

Special Needs Ministry Entrance

Yesterday I had the privilege of visiting Stonebriar Community Church’s Special Needs Ministry in Frisco, Texas.  Meaghan Wall is the Special Needs Ministry Coordinator for Stonebriar.   Stonebriar Community Church has 83 regularly participating students with special needs.  Their special needs ministry includes Sunday morning programming, FunZone respite nights, summer camp, and other ministry specific events including the much anticipated Christmas party.  Meaghan was gracious enough to provide me a tour of the special needs suite.  One thing I appreciated about the space was that it was well planned on a relatively small footprint.   I’ll be posting a few pictures for the next few days sharing what I learned from Meaghan.   See today’s post (below) for pictures and ideas for a special needs ministry entrance.

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When I drove up to Stonebriar’s church campus I knew to look for “the long circle drive” and that the special needs entrance was nearby.  This directional landmark was a great help to me, as a new visitor.  Where you see the TCU bus parked there was a sandwich board (see below)  that indicated this was the special needs drop-off area.  (I took these pictures after church was over and after the sandwich board had been placed back in its storage area).  The actual entrance to the special needs suite is to the right of the light pole in the below picture.


Meaghan didn’t want to be in the pictures but it is a lot more fun when you can match a face to a person and I wanted you all to see her.  Yes, that’s me in the background taking the picture (oops!).  

When possible, it is great for a church to provide an easy and sometimes “back door” entrance for families and children with special needs.  For some children with sensory challenges and neurological differences, long hallways, new faces, and loud noises create unnecessary anxiety.  These same children may start the day off better by avoiding the chaos of the general children’s ministry area.  Yesterday I watched a number of families utilize the  special needs entrance as an easy way of entering and exiting the church building with their child.

As we’ll show in more pictures (stay tuned!), the special needs suite connects to the general children’a ministry area.  Many of the participating children float between the special needs suite and the general children’s ministry environments.  In addition, families can drop-off and pick up their participating child either directly from the outside suite entrance, or from inside the children’s’ ministry area.