I love the thrill of preparing for the fall.  I guess I’m always excited to take advantage of natural momentum building events and the fall is one of them.  It also happens to follow another momentum building event at our church (summer camp, which I’ve probably mentioned too many times).  But when you can dovetail momentum builders, you are in a good position to both recruit and build stronger teams.

Fall also marks the official start of our goals season.  While our ministry year begins in July, once we kickoff ministry in September we really start getting into our goals.  One of the goals for our children’s ministry this year involved assessing our church’s needs as it relates to families with children who have special needs.  I felt like my role in this effort was to begin preparing small group leaders in my ministry area (2nd-5th grade) to work with and shepherd children with special needs.  As I began asking around through Twitter, email, and cmconnect – I received zero responses back from ministries who have a written handbook or formal leader resource for those who work with children with special needs.  I was floored.  Even those with established special needs programs had no such resource.  Help me understand: why not?

Thankfully one children’s ministry leader pointed me to a resource developed by Joni and Friends that was released by Gospel Light entitled “Special Needs Smart Pages.

While a little outdated in look/feel, this is the best resource I could find with enough real information to help my leaders prepare for special needs ministry.  If your church has a special needs ministry, you probably already own this book (if not, get it). If your church is looking to develop or expand a ministry to kids with special needs, get the book.  It is a well-developed resource with lots of information and a variety of methods to help leaders relate and communicate to kids with special needs.