Grace Church is an elder-led church, meaning that the elder board has the ultimate authority and responsibility for everything our church does. However, the day-to-day operations is handled by the staff, including Children's Ministry. In most areas of Children's Ministry, especially in an area as specific as Special Needs, we depend highly on volunteers to equip, minister to, and inform others. We have been blessed with two great volunteer "coaches" who help provide leadership, direction, and training for our Special Needs ministry.
Emily McGowan helped get this ministry launched at Grace Church years ago, and currently serves on the Pelham Road campus as the Special Needs Coach (organizes, schedules, and equips volunteers). She has a degree in Special Education, and is certified to teach children with learning disabilities and profound mental disabilities. She taught for three years at the Washington Center, teaching children ages 5-8 who had profound disabilities, and she has also done applied behavioral analysis (ABA) tutoring for children with autism. She now stays at home with her two sons, including her a two-year-old that has dwarfism and developmental delays.
Jessica Crumpton has served in a number of areas at Grace Church, and is now our Special Needs Coach on our Powdersville Campus. Like Emily, she has a degree in Special Education, and is certified to teach children with learning disabilities, trainable mentally disabled, and educable mentally disabled students. She taught for four years in the Pickens County School District before coming home to be with her children.
With a newly launched Children's Ministry programming at our Downtown Campus, we have not had specific leadership over special needs, nor a need for it at the start. But with a growing church, we hope that God will give us opportunities to minister to families who have children with special needs, and we trust that He will continue to provide the leaders to support them.
Image courtesy of immrchris via sxc.hu