Parents Say “Special Needs Ministry Not Necessary!”

May 31, 2012


As a father of 3 boys, each with special needs, I’m drawn to other parents who are in a similar situation as mine.  That’s the reason why 85% of my acquaintances on my FB pages are parents of special needs kiddos.  I was interested in how many of them attend church even if it does not have a special needs ministry.  So I used Survey Monkey to design a survey and then sent it to my Facebook page.  Here are the results of the first survey question:

“Do you currently attend a church that does NOT have a special needs program?”

136 of the parents responded to this survey question.  20% of them answered “Yes.”

I wanted to share some of their individual comments with you.  The following comments are a reflection of how appreciative parents of special needs children are for churches that have been a place of welcome and inclusion:

Elaine:  “We attend a very small church and there are only 3 children in the intermediate nursery. They take excellent care of my son.”

Terry:  “Our church does not have a special needs program. We are a small church and kids with special needs are welcomed and have roles all their own. My son is an altar server. Other children are simply part of the congregation. It is a blessing.”

Margaret: “Our church does not have formal program, but has provided a shadow in sunday school for our son for years.  They tweak the program each year, and currently rotate high school boys to shadow him.  And, yes it does allow us to attend church which I find peaceful and renewing.”

Bill:  “Our church does not have a specific Special Needs program, but they do teach the leaders about different disabilities. They have been so welcoming and accepting of my son. They would do anything to help make it so he could function in the Primary. So far he does fine with the visuals up and the routine is the same week after week. I am blessed to have it this way for us at Church.”

Lorraine:  “No churches in my area specifically have a ‘special needs’ program. But some are more welcoming and accomodating than others.  It was very hard to find a church to suit not only our special needs but our needs as a family to make sure everyone gets what they need spiritually.  But I think we have found one now.”

Ashley:  “Although the church I attend does not have a special needs program, they have accommodated my son’s needs from the time he was little. At three years old, they gave him is own Sunday school teacher, and she was amazing! Since then, he has attended regular classes with the children and youth, and the teachers and other kids are so friendly to him. These kids who have been kind have also been blessed to learn how to have a friend with special needs. It has been a win/win situaton. I am so grateful to these parents and kids every day for doing what Jesus would do–being kind.”

Beth:  “Our church does not have a special ed program but they are very open to special needs kids and include them as much as possible. I would like to see them offer more support to the parents though like respite days when we can leave our kids for a brief time for a date night.”

I wanted to add my “thank you” to all of you who are finding a way to include families who have a child with special needs!

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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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2 Comments on “Parents Say “Special Needs Ministry Not Necessary!””

  1. Tammy Says:

    Thank you for information, I agree to some point with the responses, but am not ready for the trial and error step yet because of the manny many many disabilities and medical issues our little girl has, and we live in a small community and the closest church that does have a SN ministry is 45 min away which would not afford us to be able to very involved in anything more than a Sunday service


    • SpecialNeedsMinistry Says:

      Tammy, I get it. When we lived in rural NC it was a distance to the closest church that was willing to provide a ministry to our boys on the autism spectrum. Because of the distance and the limited availability of volunteers we always made it to Sunday service but rarely anything else. I hope and pray that a church closer to you can become that place of welcome that would be a good fit for your family.


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