4 Gifts That Parents Receive From Our Special Friends Ministry

September 22, 2011

Belonging, Building Relationships

Scripture reminds us that we were never meant to live in a state of isolation. We were created to be relational beings. None of us were meant to live alone, away from meaningful connection. Spend one minute looking at Genesis 2:18 and the words “not good” ring out.

God Created Us With A Hunger For Relationship

“It is not good for man to live alone.” Living an isolated life does not accurately reflect the One whose image we bear. “Alone” and “isolated” were never to be used to describe His children.  Henry Cloud said it well, “God created us with a hunger for relationship—for relationship with Him and with our fellow human beings.” At our core we are relational beings. Cloud goes on to say, “The human soul cannot prosper without being connected to others.”

The need to connect, to be in relationship, doesn’t just apply to those who are temporarily able-bodied…it also applies to those children and adults who have a disability.  There are a handful of wonderful blessings that occur between our Special Friends volunteers and to those we serve.  The blessing of developing relationships with one another is one of them!

The 4 Gifts That Parents Receive From A Special Friends Ministry

Most of the time when we speak of the blessings or gifts of a special needs ministry, we tend to talk about the eternal and spiritual impact of the ministry on our Special Friends.  Today, however, I’d like to share with you four wonderful gifts that bless the parent or parents of the children we serve by being a place of welcome and inclusion:

Gift #1: The opportunity for parents to express their love for God. Going to church is a visible, tangible expression of one’s love and worship toward God.  It is where parents can gather with other believers to publicly bear witness of their faith and trust in God. It is where they can bring Him offerings of praise, thanks, and honor, which are pleasing to Him. Indeed, the Lord is deserving of our time and energy to honor Him with our service of devotion. “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created” (Rev. 4:11).

Gift #2: The opportunity to fellowship with God. Life can be confusing and at times overwhelming for parents of special needs children as they try to sift through and sort out right from wrong, truth from error, acceptance of things they cannot change from the courage to change the things that they can. All the more reason to go to church regularly. It is in church that the voice of God speaks to parents through sermon, Scripture, liturgy, and hymns. His is a voice of strength and comfort, the voice of healing that they need to desperately hear.

Gift #3: The opportunity to be loved and encouraged.  All of us face dilemmas and disappointments. We all wrestle with discouragement and heartache. Being a part of a loving, caring community is an important ingredient in a parents quality of life and good health maintenance. Coming to church gives them an opportunity to receive an encouraging word, a hug and a smile. It means having someone who will listen and speak the words of comfort and direction that they need to hear. How often a timely word of Gospel spoken from the heart of one believer to another makes the heart joyful!

Gift #4: The opportunity to build up their spiritual strength. Receiving the preaching and teaching of the Word of God increases a parents faith and builds them up spiritually. Every believer knows what it is to face spiritual conflicts to their faith, and realizes the importance of being fed spiritually so that they can overcome the challenges. Paul states that Christians must put on spiritual armor for protection, as it will take everything at our disposal to stand (Eph. 6:10-18). How important then that parents of children with special needs be given every opportunity available to receive ministry and strength from God’s Word. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17).

I would encourage you today to keep an eye out for those parents in our community who need a “gift.” They’re out there.  They need to know that someone cares.  The Special Friends Ministry stands ready to serve these parents in a way that allows them to experience the 4 gifts that come with being a part of a community of faith who is passionate to fellowship with God and with one another.

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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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9 Comments on “4 Gifts That Parents Receive From Our Special Friends Ministry”

  1. Amy Says:

    Invaluable gifts for parents dealing with special needs! You have articulated these gifts so well!

    When our daughter was born with Down syndrome, we stayed away from all crowds (including church) for two years due to immune issues. Though our church had no special needs ministry, I so missed being fed in community by the Word and corporate worship. We were never put on any home-bound sort of list for visit and it seemed no one cared.

    We returned to a huge vacuum – they were not a part of our journey and really never became a part of it. But we made it work. I want to make sure no one has to journey on as we did…isolated and alone.

    I am in the process of beginning a new ministry with those living with special needs and their families. So much to be excited about!



    Thanks, Mike! So often we focus on the needs of the child with challenges that we forget how powerfully our ministry impacts parents. There is a huge, unrecognized mission field in the service of these caregivers.


  3. Amy Says:

    My ministry will be a regional ministry. We belong to a liturgical church. so it will be a diocesan-wide ministry. I have a wonderful committee that will educate and serve as needed.

    An exciting new beginning!


  4. drgrcevich Says:

    See you’ve hit the ground running, Mike!

    May I suggest a fifth gift? The opportunity to serve. The Bible says that we were all given gifts to use in the service of building God’s Kingdom.


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