Children with special needs are precious in the sight of the Lord, so it should go without saying that they should be welcomed into the church with open arms.
The good news is, some churches have thriving disability ministries where families feel loved and supported.
However, there are a large number of families who feel abandoned and even rejected by the church simply for having a child with special needs. And just wait until you hear the story of this one family.
The DiToro family shared their tragic story of what happened when they placed their 7-year-old child with special needs in their church’s nursery.
The Christian Post reported:
“The teachers reportedly told the couple that their son “should walk and talk like the other children” and “should be more social with the other children.” …
“I believed that the nursery teachers felt that our son had to fit the same phenotype as the other children in the nursery,’” Edward DiToro recounted. “I also don’t think that they spoke to him to make sure Samuel felt like he was welcome there. He was just thrown in with the other kids and expected to behave like them.”
Eventually the family became so frustrated with how their son was treated, they decided to find another church.
One can’t even imagine the hurt this family felt, knowing their child had an intellectual disability and was being rejected for “not being like the other children” because of it.
Children with special needs can not be expected to just “walk and talk” like other children.
Many children with special needs process things differently and are easily over-stimulated by lights or sounds.
They can definitely thrive if put in the right environment, but sadly it seems like some churches still get this part wrong.
However, the good news is – you can help be part of the solution. And it’s not as complicated as you think.
If your church already has a disability ministry, great!
Talk with your family and consider serving and volunteering in their ministry to show the love of Jesus to these precious children.
If your church does not have ministries in place to welcome families with special needs, consider talking with your pastor and leaders about creating one.
Perhaps your pastor isn’t aware of the specific need, or is waiting on a volunteer (like you) to step forward and lead it!
The church is a place to welcome the broken, lost, and seeking.
It should be a loving place where the love and truth of God is preached – and it’s a tragedy that a family would leave because they feel rejected for having a child with special needs.
God welcomes all to His table.
It is so important that families feel welcomed to come worship our Lord and Savior – and that they feel safe leaving their children under the care of adults who will love and treat them kindheartedly.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” – John 3:16-17
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