“As a parent of a child with extra needs,” said Joy Gribbins, member of Ninevah Christian Church, “I know how difficult it can be to go places that aren’t adapted to the needs of your child.”
Realizing that the church is not exempt from this issue, Ninevah Christian Church is making a place for those with special needs in their new ministry, Christ in Me. As the Christ in Me ministry description says, some families cannot even attend church because of the lack of programs to care for their children’s unique needs.
Christ in Me Ministry was recently started by Glenna Hockensmith, a member of Ninevah Christian Church. Hockensmith has 20 years of experience working in special needs ministry and is now bringing her experience to help families at Ninevah Christian Church.
The ministry, itself, is inspired by a scene found in John 9:3. This verse tells the story of a man who was blind from birth. As the Christ in Me ministry description explains, “Here, Jesus tells how a man’s disability was not the result of a mistake but was in fact God’s will so that Christ could powerfully display His work through him. We believe Christ seeks to do the same today.” The description then goes on to add that, “There is a huge need in the church to provide care for children with different needs and abilities.”
In fact, Glenna Hockensmith would highly encourage other churches to start their own ministries for special needs. When originally asked if this was something she would encourage other churches to do she said, “absolutely! It is a blessing to the families and also the volunteers.”
The Christ in Me ministry works by having one-on-one care and a buddy system. The ministry description also states that they want to help each individual “grow in Christ to the best of their ability whether that is by staying in class with peers their age or in a sensory room with age-appropriate lessons.”
Specifically, the ministry is equipped to handle various physical and mental disabilities. Despite the special needs involved, you do not need any special training to volunteer. As Glenna Hockensmith put it, “just a willing heart!”
A couple of moms with children in the ministry also shared their take on this new program. Continuing on her earlier statement, Joy Gribbins explained, “Your kids needs feel much smaller in the comfort of your own home. Going into a world that is unaware of your child’s needs is like being a fish out of water; everything can be difficult and uncertain. Church is a place where every family and every child should feel the love of Christ. Just as Christ has prepared a place for us, our church has prepared a place for every family to have a home church.” Later she added that, “It is important to get the information to families that may benefit from this program. Everyone deserves to know the love of Christ and hear his message. It’s important to make it a little easier on families like mine to receive that message.”
Courtney Humes also attends Ninevah Christian church and has 2 special needs boys. As Humes explained, “Due to their disabilities, a ‘normal’ Sunday children’s class just won’t work for our two kiddos. Bryson is terrified of loud noises and finds other children unpredictable and intimidating, while Stetson puts everything in his mouth and can easily fall if left alone. They need one on one care and attention. The ‘Christ in Me’ ministry does just that, but so much more. Besides being loved on and attended to according to their needs… they are being taught about Jesus and His Word at a level they can comprehend.” Humes went on to add that they feel blessed to have found Ninevah Christian Church but even more to have found a special needs ministry that also teaches them about Christ’s love.
Through their ministry, Christ in Me is serving to meet these special needs in the church. To quote the ministry description again, “Jesus tells us to let the little children come to Him (Luke 18:16). So, let’s work together and make the church available to families with children of all needs and abilities.”