Thursday, August 20, 2015

Life is Sacred

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.   Colossians 3:16
This past Sunday we introduced the desire to start a special needs ministry here at North Side Baptist Church.  This is a need within our congregation and community that our church could meet. 
About 56.7 million people or roughly 19 percent of the population had a disability in 2010, according to a broad definition of disability, with more than half of them reporting the disability was severe, according to a comprehensive report on this population released by the U.S. Census Bureau.
According to Weatherford Independent School District, approximately seven hundred (700) students are in need of some type of specialized academic attention whether it be Content Mastery or Resource.  Of those students, three hundred (300) of them cannot function within a normal classroom environment and are placed in an alternative classroom such as Life-Skills. 
The Parker County Special Needs Co-op who serves five of the smaller districts, which include, Poolville ISD, Peaster ISD, Brock ISD, Millsap ISD, and Garner ISD have identified three hundred twenty (320) families who have a child with special needs of which seventy two (72) of these children cannot function in a normal classroom setting.  That is a huge potential mission field!    
Perhaps one of the most sobering statistics is that according to the National Organization on Disability, sixty percent (60%) of families with a disabled family member do not attend church on a regular basis.  This statistic seems to hold true within the group of parents who bring their disabled child to Northside’s REVIVE Respite Program (A respite program for parents who have children with special needs).  In an informal survey, approximately 20 families were asked to respond if they attended church on a regular basis.  The answer was a resounding no.  When asked why, the response was as equally resounding.  There is no specialized program or programs for their child.  Finally the parents were asked if such a program was provided, would they be most likely to consider attending.  The answer across the board was yes.
According to the Parker County Baptist Association, no church within Parker County has a viable special needs outreach or plans to institute any type of special needs ministry.  Northside Baptist would be the first church in Parker County to launch into this untapped mission field.
I look out in the congregation and in the halls and I see the need but I don’t know how to meet the need.  See, difficult areas of ministry oftentimes do not receive attention.  There are challenges involved in making efforts to reach children and adults with special needs.  But we are ready to meet these challenges head on.  It will take individuals who are called for this area of ministry and who have a heart for special needs.  It will require love, commitment, and training. 
If you have a heart for special needs, and you feel called to be a part of this exciting new program, call the church office at 817-599-8612 and let us know.  God has a spot for you!

Scripture to Claim:
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.  Matthew 5:16

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