J. is 8 years old and in 2nd grade. He enjoys cars, trains, Roblox, and goldfish crackers! He is a big brother, super-duper smart, has memorized numerous flags of the world, and he also has Autism. His favorite place to be is the beach, and he REALLY dislikes haircuts.
Having a child with a disability can be extremely isolating and challenging, and finding a church that looks past the disability, shouldn’t be an additional burden. The truth is, many families with children with special needs do not attend church, not because they don’t want to, but because they can’t. The resources and support system just aren’t there. I thank God for leading us to Calvary Church, a church for ALL. Calvary has supported us and made our church experience a good one.
First, I sat and chatted with the Director of Disability Ministries and we talked about my son’s diagnosis, his likes and dislikes, his strengths and so on. I was then given a questionnaire that asked more detailed information (allergies, fears, areas he needs help with etc.) and this helped them decide his placement, as they offer several inclusion options for children with special needs.
Soon, our son was paired with buddies (special needs ministry volunteers) that not only supervise him, but encourage, engage, and help him during Sunday school. His buddies alternate Sunday’s, but seeing one of the two familiar faces consistently, week after week, has provided him a great comfort. He loves his buddies and I can tell that they love him too.
This ministry has been an answered prayer for our family and a constant reminder of God’s love for us. Knowing that our little boy is in capable and loving hands, gives me peace of mind as I worship God during the church service, and thank Him for all that he is doing in our lives.
At church he not only interacts with his buddy but with his table leader, children at his table, church greeters, and other teachers or helpers. He does have friends at school and church, but he much prefers talking to adults.
We found a church that is welcoming, understanding, and accepting of our son, making him feel wanted, needed, and known. My prayer is that those who want to go to church but can’t, are able to find a church home so that you don’t have to go through this journey alone. We were made for the community.