There are several reasons why these families don't attend church. Here are some of their reasons:
- My child is not welcomed in any of the children’s activities, they said he is too disruptive.
- I took my child to Sunday School class, but they wheeled him to the corner and he sat there until I came to pick him up.
- They said I had to keep my child with me because they had nobody that could help care for her during Children’s church. I tried, but she can be noisy, so an usher asked us to please leave the sanctuary because she was disrupting the service.
- I asked the pastor if we could possibly have someone help my child during Sunday School, they told me they were not responsible to find me babysitters.
- It’s not worth it, my child cannot handle the sensory overload.
- When my child is loud, people stare at us and shake their heads. I even had people tell me that my child needs discipline, my child has autism and they know it! I’m not going back.
- My child is welcomed, but almost very Sunday they call me and I have to go get her from her class. Why bother.
- I tried starting a special needs class for kids, the church leadership did not support me, they said there was no need.
- For 20 years my wife and I took turns going to church. One Sunday she would go and I stayed home with our son, the next one we switched.
So isn’t it sad, isn’t it puzzling, that the only classroom where our kids with special needs are fully included is the public school classroom rather than the Sunday School class? Isn’t there something wrong when the public school setting is more accepting, loving, and supportive to kids with disabilities rather than the church?
Did you know that 80% of marriages end up in divorce when there is a child with a disability in the family? So shouldn’t the church support these families?
Did you know that special needs families feel isolated? So shouldn’t the church be the place where they feel included?
Did you know that special needs families feel constantly judged? So shouldn’t the church be a place where there is no judgement?
Did you know that people with disabilities are the largest minority in the world? Yes, the largest minority!!
Disability is a part of life. It has nothing to do with faith, it has nothing to do with healing. It has everything to do with being human, it has everything to do with being the body of Christ. People with disabilities are part of the Body, and we need them. We need them just as much as they need us. We are all connected in this journey, all of us. All of us!
We have an unreached people group in our own backyard. A people group that has been marginalized by society for too long. It is time that as a Church, we embrace them, we accept them, we celebrate them!
Instead of praying for healing, let’s pray for God to open our hearts and our eyes to the needs of people and children living with disability. Let’s figure out how to do life together. And let’s embrace, forgive, celebrate, accept, and love unconditionally.
And let’s never forget that people/children with disabilities are people first, fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139
We need to create awareness and educate our leaders, and in doing so, it is important that we extend grace and forgiveness. You and I can be a part of the solution. Grace and forgiveness…we all need it.
This post was adapted by a post written by E Stumbo.