Inclusion Fusion 2012: Bridging The Gap Can Be Fun

November 13, 2012

Resources

I’m “attending” the free online Inclusion Fusion 2012 Web Conference and I’d encourage you to check out the list of over 30 great presentations on all things related to special needs ministry.

Let me give you the highlights of Marie Kuck’s presentation.  Marie is the Executive Director of Nathaniel’s Hope, a Central Florida based ministry that meets the needs of kids with disabilities…and so much more!

Marie shared a beautiful story about her son, Nathaniel, who was born prematurely with multiple birth anomalies.  After proving himself to be “a miracle boy,” beating the odds time and again by overcoming many physical obstacles and challenges on November 13, 2001 at an early age of 4½ years old, Nathaniel relocated to 777 Heavenly Lane. His purpose has been fulfilled, and he has now returned back home to his Creator. At his new home, he is no longer physically restricted, bound by surgeries, feeding tubes or braces, and he is now free to run on the streets of gold.

Jesus bridged the gap with people…ALL people…and he did with by building relationships.  Marie shared several great ideas for bridging the gap with families who have a child with special needs:

Acknowledge the presence of people with disabilities.  Start by saying, Hello.”  As leaders we should model this ministry of presence for others.

Create a fun event that gives people a reason to connect.  Host a fun event that gives people an opportunity to rub shoulders with kids with disabilities.  Make ‘m  Smile is a festival in which VIP’s (people with disabilities)  from the local community are elevated and honored.  Volunteers at an event like this walk away realizing that people who have kids with special needs are like any other family: they have the need to be loved, to have friends, to have Christ in their lives.

Meet practical needs. One need that the majority of families who have a child with special needs is respite…a parent’s day out.  Buddy Break is a great example of a way to meet this needs of families and show the local community the love of Christ through serving their children with disabilities.  This type of program can be a catalyst to opening the doors for more ministry.  Potluck dinners, Vacation Bible School, and other events designed for children with disabilities can be a great way to meet the needs of these families in your local community.

Find ways to take care of the caregiver.  Often caregivers are so busy caring for others that they don’t take care of themselves physically, emotionally, and/or spiritually.  Oftentimes caregivers feel isolated and lonely.  Churches can create unique ways to bridge the gap and build relationships with caregivers by doing simple things like touching bases with them on a regular basis via phone calls and being a listening ear, cooking and bringing dinner to their house, or  becoming a prayer partner with them.

Bridge the gap by being intentional and thinking out of the box or following through on one of the many ideas mentioned by Marie Kuck!

If you missed yesterday’s blog on Technology and Special Needs Ministry then click on the link.

There is NO WAY that I’m going to be able to blog about ALL of the great presentations during Inclusion Fusion 2012.  So make sure you go to their website, register, and watch them yourself!  It’s free.  It’s online.  It’s convenient.

Michael Woods

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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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