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Leading a Special Needs Ministry: A Practical Guide to Including Children and Loving Families

April 24, 2013


Today is the official release day for the new book, Leading a Special Needs Ministry:  A Practical Guide for Including Children and Loving Families (The reThink Group, 2013).  The book can be purchased through the Orange Store today.

Table of Contents LASNM

Appendix Pages Include:

  • Relational Etiquette Quiz
  • Relational Etiquette Pointers
  • Sample of Ministry Mission Statement
  • Sample Intake Form & Parent Questionnaire
  • Inclusion Tips
  • Buddy Communication Sheet
  • Weekly Ministry Communication Sheet
  • Customized Participant Schedule
  • Policies & Volunteer Training Topics
  • Sample Outline for Teen Buddy Training Event
  • Training Event for Church Hosts and Greeters
  • One-Time Service Opportunities
  • Teaching Tips & Behavior Management Strategies

For more information about the book:
Christian News Wire Press Release Book Review
Home Educating Family Association Book Review Book Review Book Review


“Every congregation of every size should have this resource. They need it because there is no other resource that brings such experience, wisdom, and compassion to the blessings and challenges of welcoming every child and family to be a part of the community of faith. For every issue about special needs—from knowing how to express care for parents who are learning that their child has special needs all the way to developing programs, policies and education for volunteers working with children with special needs—this practical resource will be referenced often. I am ordering it for my church, and I am putting it on my students’ family ministry reading list.”
Diana Garland, Dean, Baylor University School of Social Work and Editor, Journal of Family and Community Ministries

“I cannot think of anyone who would not benefit from this incredibly useful and sensitively written guide! You may be a concerned friend or in church leadership, you may be considering the needs of this special people group or formally starting a special needs ministry, no matter how you have been touched by individuals with special needs this book will assist. Amy Fenton Lee has covered the important issues and uses the collective experiences she has encountered across the country!”
Cynthia Zierhut, Ph.D., Licensed Clinical and Research Psychologist, MIND Institute and Founding Director of the Special Needs Ministry of Capital Christian Center

“WOW! I expected this to be a book about how to start a special needs ministry. But it is so much more! This is a comprehensive guide to ministering to families touched by special needs! Amy has done an exceptional job of providing clear and concise guidelines on what to say and what not to say to hurting families. There are equally well thought out suggestions on how to minister to individual children/adults who learn differently as well as to their families. Whether you have one family in your church with special needs or a flourishing special needs ministry, this book is a MUST READ!”
Wendi Akers, Special Needs Ministry Leader, Lake Pointe Church (Rockwall, TX) and Mother of an adult on the spectrum

“With a heart for families of all abilities, Amy Fenton Lee has become the premier resource of practicality and encouragement for churches reaching out to special needs families. In her new book, Leading a Special Needs Ministry, Amy gives any ministry a practical resource to take the next step in ministering to this incredible slice of God’s family. Whether you are a ministry far down the road in this area or one that is just getting started, this resource will be a great help to take you to the next level in providing God’s best for EVERY family.”
David H. Anderson, Childhood Ministry Strategist of the Louisiana Baptist Convention

“This is a remarkable, much needed book. It is a comprehensive, insightful tool for all special needs ministry leaders. The practical, workable tools, methods, and sample forms are a massive help and time-saver, especially for budding new ministries. Sometimes the challenges of special needs ministry are perplexing. This book addresses even the hard topics and provides carefully considered suggestions and solutions. Thank you, Amy, for the time and heart you have put into this good and God-honoring work. It is my new go-to manual. I wish I would have had this resource years ago.”
Brenda Fischer, Coordinator for Disability Ministry or  Bethlehem Baptist Church (Minneapolis, MN)

“I highly recommend this practical, easy-to-read resource to any church taking first or next steps in disability ministry. It is a wonderful complement to the resources already available and offers straight forward, clear answers to many of the questions I am often asked by churches considering intentional care of families affected by disability. I particularly enjoyed and will implement Amy’s attention to supporting families through the diagnosis and the training quiz questions she suggests.”
Debbie Lillo, Church Relations Manager, Bay Area, California, Joni and Friends International Disability Center

“An informative guide chocked full of practical ideas and suggestions sure to help every leader set up an effective special needs ministry that serves families. We have needed this information for a very long time. Thanks, Amy!”
Sue Miller, Author, Making Your Children’s Ministry the Best Hour of Every Kid’s Week, Executive Director of First Look, The reThink Group, Inc.

“I have been impressed with the ministry of Amy Fenton Lee for a long time as a regular reader of her blog. As I read this book, I was both challenged and inspired with every page turn. Amy has written a true handbook to guide Kidmin Leaders through the journey of ministering to families with special needs. From helping parents through initial diagnosis to building a thriving special needs ministry, this book has it all! Lives will be changed as a result of this book!”
Brian Dollar, Author, I Blew It, blogger at and Founder, High Voltage Kids Ministry Resources, and Kids Pastor at First Assembly North Little Rock

“Leading a Special Needs Ministry: A practical Guide—the title says it all. It is very practical in orientation. The highlight of the book is that the feelings and needs of parents are focused on. In the years my son was struggling to communicate, so many people told us how to deal with his inability to speak. It was hurtful to be told he would speak if we didn’t answer him, or he is making such great progress when his speech tests had shown he was still in the lowest percentile for his age group. This was at a time when no one knew how to remediate him, including the special educators and speech therapists.  Acknowledging that parents deal with their child’s needs in different ways based on their experience, knowledge and personalities is vital to a special needs ministry. Amy incorporates this important aspect into her book, giving churches valuable insight and tools to encourage parents and ministry leaders to work together.
Nella Uitvlugt, Executive Director of Friendship Ministries

“Amy Fenton Lee has written a book that I have been looking for for years. A guide that helps me minister to parents and children who are dealing with disabilities of all kinds. This book organizes all the materials I need to start or improve my church’s special needs ministry.”
Christiaan VandenHeuvel, Executive Team for Children and Students, Cornerstone Fellowship (Livermore, CA)

“This is an excellent resource designed to help the church encourage and support families who have loved ones with special needs. Amy Fenton Lee has gleaned the wisdom and experiences of many families and successful ministries giving excellent advice and tools on how to help, love, encourage and support. The reader will learn how to be a blessing and in turn will be blessed.”
Kathy Weltner, M.A. Special Education, Special Needs Ministry Director, CrossPoint Community Church (Modesto, CA)

“Amy’s book is an easy-to-read and understandable guide for churches that provide or are wanting to provide special needs ministry. The guidelines are clear and concise, especially for people who are not special needs aware. The ideas and tips are uncomplicated, simple and easy to assimilate and administer for almost any church. This is one of the best resources for any church including special needs ministry.”
Linda Ranson Jacobs, Creator and Ambassador, Divorce Care for Kids

“If you ever get a chance to sit down and have a conversation with Amy Fenton Lee, whether you’ve known her for five minutes or five years, you will feel like you are talking to a life-long friend. That same feeling permeates Leading a Special Needs Ministry: A Practical Guide to Including Children and Loving Families. Whether you and your church are just beginning to think about starting a special needs ministry, have an established special needs ministry or are just wondering about whether or not you should start a special needs ministry, this book has the information you need. Amy has brought to bear her vast knowledge of special needs ministry gained from years and years of research and extensive interviews with families of children with special needs and church leaders in the special needs community. That knowledge and expertise take the form of insightful advice and information along with practical guides and forms adaptable to your unique situation. Leading a Special Needs Ministry is destined to become the ‘go-to’ handbook for any church when it comes to special needs ministry.”
Wayne Stocks, Children’s Ministry Volunteer, Children’s Ministry Blogger at and

“As the director of a children’s program in a small church, this book is the exact tool I wish I had when I began in ministry 10 years ago. Written in a heart-touching and practical way, it focuses on the ONE important thing—that our goal as leaders is for all children to know Jesus.”
Brook Hickle, Ministry Consultant and Children’s Ministry Director, Northwest Bible Church (Enumclaw, WA)

“The church could be defined for generations to come by how we tackle the issue of special needs. Amy Lee’s passion and practicality sets the standard in solving this problem. A must read for every church leader whether a volunteer or on staff.”
Matt McKee, CEO of ROAR and Social Media Strategist, The reThink Group, Inc.

“This book is an excellent, detailed, and well-researched resource for any church looking to care for children with special needs and their families. As a mom of a child diagnosed with Aspergers, I can tell you that Amy Lee voices the exact experiences, emotions, and needs of families like mine and that the wisdom and practical advice she offers is outstanding. Churches and ministry leaders will make a huge impact on all kinds of families when they incorporate her strategies.”
Christine Hoover, Author, The Church Planting Wife: Help and Hope for Her Heart and Mother of a child diagnosed with Aspergers

“Leading A Special Needs Ministry by Amy Fenton Lee will easily become a ‘must have’ for any church of any size considering and implementing special needs ministry. It is practical, thorough, and up-to-date. I can’t wait to point churches and individuals to this book. What a wonderful resource!”
Gillian Marchenko, Coordinator for The King’s Table, Christian Fellowship Church and Instructor for Joni and Friends Equipping team Chicago

“As a parent of a child with special needs, and a children’s pastor, I hope that all who serve the next generation will read and learn from this book. Communicating with parents is critical, and this book provides Christ-centered tools to allow this communication to be more impactful. Thank you, reThink and Amy Fenton Lee, for educating and empowering those who serve in special needs ministry.”
Kristy Moser, Early Childhood Pastor, Montgomery Community Church (Cincinnati, OH)

“Leading a Special Needs Ministry is a ‘must have’ reference tool for those involved in ministering to families of children and youth with special needs. [Amy Fenton Lee] details important facts regarding the wide scope of special needs, personal stories of families with children with special needs, suggested structure and guidelines/procedures for a special needs ministry, and practical applications of her recommendations. Most importantly, she expertly weaves together these components with reference to Scripture and extending Jesus’ compassion for all of His children. This book provides valuable insight and resources for all levels of leadership within a special needs ministry.”
Janelle Wagner, Ph.D., Special Needs Ministry CoordinatorThe Church at BattleCreek (Tulsa, OK) and Pediatric Psychologist

“One of the challenges to the church and to pastors is how to provide spiritual and emotional care to parents of children with special needs. Caring pastors and compassionate lay people frequently struggle with how best to minister to families with children who have special needs. Amy offers some excellent and practical guidelines for those who have the God-given opportunity to minister to parents whose children have special needs as well as some very helpful insights on how to minister to children with special needs. I recommend the book to any pastor or layperson who is given this opportunity of ministry.”
Dr. Neal Schooley, Retired Minister of Pastoral Care, Dawson Memorial Baptist Church (Birmingham, AL) and Stephen Ministry Workshop Leader


  1. Yolanda Corral permalink

    Hello my name is Yolanda Corral I work in a parent center assisting parents of a child with special needs. I was wondering if there is a possibility of this book ever being in spanish? I have spanish speaking families going through some of this type of issues. One mom whom has 3 children with autism cannot send her son to church because they don’t understand autism. Her other two can attend church but he can’t and so she has stopped attending church altogether. Also, is there a posibility of a scholarship to be able to get a free copy as our funding has been cut. Otherwise where can we find the price of this book? Thank you for your help. I love your website. Yolanda Corral

  2. Yolanda – Thanks for your comment and mostly thanks for all you do to help parents of children with special needs. The price and order information can be found by clicking on the link to the Orange Store in the top part of the post. The book retails for $18.99.

    As for being published in Spanish…the book was just released on Wednesday and we haven’t yet at the opportunity to gauge market response. (We ended up surpassing all sales expectations last week so perhaps the chance is good for a Spanish edition in the future.)

    Thank you Yolanda!

  3. My name is Cheri Clay and I am a Christian freelance book reviewer and a special needs church leader. I would be very interested in reading this book and as a reviewer getting the word out. Thank you.

  4. My name is Kelly Campbell and I am a parent of a special needs child (Down syndrome) and am working with our Children’s Minister to start a Special Needs Ministry. I am going to read this book. Are there other suggestions or resources you can share?

  5. Kelly – Thank you for your comment and I hope the book is helpful. Check the “resources” tab on the top this blog. There are some suggestions for a couple of other books and a training DVD among the posts listed in this category Admittedly, I don’t have posts for every good resource for church leaders (time constraints get in the way sometimes of writing up reviews).

    You might also want to follow “The Inclusive Church” on social media.


    I tend to do a better job of featuring other resources through social media because it takes less time to post a link than to write a blog post.

    Thank you so much for helping your church become special needs inclusive!


  6. Anne Delaney permalink

    Hi Amy! Everywhere I look the book is out of stock. Are there any plans to republish?


  7. Anne Delaney permalink

    Hi Amy! Everywhere I look the book is out of stock. Are there any plans to republish?


  8. Yes! Working on republishing. Thanks for writing Anne!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Leading a Special Needs Ministry: A Practical Guide to Including Children and Loving Families
  2. Special Needs Ministry Training Opportunities & More | The Inclusive Church
  3. Developing a SpNeedsMin’s Goals & Mission | The Inclusive Church
  4. About Amy Fenton Lee | The Inclusive Church
  5. Leading a Special Needs Ministry – Book Update | The Inclusive Church
  6. 5 Tips for Starting a Special Needs Ministry (OC14 Spotlight: Doc Hunsley) | The Inclusive Church
  7. 2014 Summer Reading (and Writing) Plans - Jennifer A. Janes

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