The Inclusive Church

Special Needs Ministry First Year Goals

In 2013 Mount Paran Church (Atlanta, Georgia) created a staff position to oversee special needs inclusion for all of its family ministry environments. Jillian Palmiotto, a former special education teacher and longtime children’s ministry volunteer, became the church’s first Family Ministry Special Needs Ministry Coordinator. A couple of weeks ago the newly named “Unlimited” Special Needs Ministry opened a sensory room. The room serves as a wonderful alternative environment for students who can benefit from the space during any part of their church experience. I was thrilled to be part of the room’s inaugural Sunday and loved meeting the students, families, and volunteers involved in the ministry. The staff at Mount Paran did a great job designing the new room and extra kudos goes to Jillian’s husband, who created the brilliant sensory wall.



I met Jillian after she had been on the job only a couple of weeks at Mount Paran. She mentioned a timeline she had just drafted, outlining goals for the ministry’s first year. Jillian is a girl after my own heart! Of course I begged her to share the planning document here. Like many of you, Jillian is navigating new territory, figuring out her own job responsibilities on a daily basis. Now, inching toward the end of one year on the job, Jillian points out that many goals from the original outline (shown below) have changed or moved into the ministry’s second year. As many of you already know, flexibility is arguably the most important attribute of a special needs ministry leader.

Mount Paran Church – Unlimited Special Needs MInistry 
Year One Ministry Goals and Timeline 

Month 1:

Month 2:

Month 3:

Month 4:

Month 5:

Month 6:

Month 7:

Month 8:

Month 9:

Months 10 – 12:

Month 12:

Jillian Palmiotto joined the Mount Paran Church of God staff in 2013 as the church’s first Family Ministry Special Needs Coordinator. Jillian is a longtime children’s ministry volunteer. She attends summer camps and special events with Mount Paran’s grade school children, leads a middle school small group, and participates in the services for the new 5th and 6th grade ministry as well as the high school ministry. Prior to coming on staff, Jillian was an inclusion teacher for the Paulding County School system. Jillian has a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and an M. Ed in Special Education. Mount Paran Church has been Jillian’s church home for the last 15 years, along with her husband Anthony and 2 children, Samantha and Nicholas. She is excited to see how God will use the special needs ministry to build up strong, committed disciples of Jesus Christ.