11 Tips For Special Needs Ministry Leaders!

June 11, 2011


Let’s face it. Ministry can be incredibly hard and challenging. Special-needs ministry can add another layer of challenge, often, dealing with behavioral episodes, medical concerns, and questions on how to include and best serve children with disabilities. On top of that, many special families are experiencing one or more issues:  financial considerations, marital strain, single parenthood, fractured family relationships, and dealing with stress, grief, or depression. As a special-needs or kidsmin leader, one can be overcome with how to meet the needs of all we serve. How do leaders brace themselves for the many demands and prepare themselves to thrive – not just survive – as leaders? Ministry is a marathon, not a sprint.

  • Pray, pray, pray – Pray for God’s patience, strength, and joy. Pray for His wisdom and direction for ministry. Pray for His provision and protection.
  • Stay connected to the vine – Practice spiritual disciplines. Rely on His strength, not your own human efforts.
  • Maintain balance (God, family, ministry) – Be careful not to flip the order; keep first things first.
  • Take time off – Schedule down time and “me” time.
  • Create a network/support system of other special-needs leaders.
  • Have fun – A sense of humor is a requirement.
  • Pour into a younger leader – Intentionally plan for your replacement.
  • Fill your toolbox with disability education, behavior management, and inclusion strategies.
  • Build your team – Professionals in the field and volunteers sold out for the ministry.
  • Commit to growing/developing your leadership skills.
  • Remember the big picture – you’re not just doing ministry; you’re impacting His Kingdom.

Still after 13 years of serving on staff of a special-needs ministry, I am excited and on fire to serve the Lord in this capacity. Until He tells me otherwise, I will continue doing so. In the meantime, I’ll do all I can to keep my vessel full to best serve Him by being the hands and feet of Christ for all His children, regardless of ability level.

Author:  Jackie Mills-Fernald–Access Ministry Director, McLean Bible Church

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About Michael Woods

Christ-follower, husband, chocoholic, and peanut-butter lover! I'm a father to triplet boys...each on the autism spectrum.

View all posts by Michael Woods


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One Comment on “11 Tips For Special Needs Ministry Leaders!”

  1. drgrcevich Says:

    Good advice for all of us from a highly respected and experienced leader in the special needs ministry community.


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