Supporting churches to include people with Autism and Learning Disabilties

Are you interested in starting a new thing in your church or in your community? I have spoken to many people recently who have it on their hearts to make their churches more accessible and to possibly start a new accessible ministry with adults or children with additional needs.

I have written a lot on here about how to go about it. But for the first time I am going to need to take my own advice. We now feel settled enough in our new church to start exploring what God could want hubby and I to do. At this point I’m not even sure that it’s going to be additional needs ministry…. but then what else would I do!? The passion still burns in my heart, and I still feel like I would burst if I didn’t do this.

Psalm 37:4-7  (NIV)

Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.

Be still before the Lord  and wait patiently for him;

This verse has always meant to me that God will put his desires in my heart. I know when he does, usually, because they are maybe not what I was thinking, or it is a simmering of excitement about something that I can feel is on God’s heart too. It’s always good to seek confirmation and first to look for that in God’s word. Then if needed, seek God’s guidance in talking it through with wise others, or just asking him to confirm it in a way at he knows will be clear to you.

I suppose we are at that point. Prayer has to be the start of it all, and I am such a fidgety person that being still long enough and not rushing ahead with all my ideas, is probably very good for me.

Psalm 37:7  (NIRV)

Be still and wait patiently for the Lord to act.

 

The image shows a coloured stained glass window with plain blue, purple and yellow panes of glass. A cross is in one pane near the top.

Reflecting on God’s grace and mercy.

I’ve always advised anyone thinking of starting an accessible ministry to pray first. Then to do some research so you know who is in your community and what their gifts and needs are.

As it’s now school holidays and I’m blessed with a few weeks break from my schools work, I can start to find these things out. But to get here It’s been a longer journey than it needed to be – and for that I am going to confess to you all something important.

Two years ago, when I was on the additional needs ministry team at the Keswick Convention,  God did give me a clear picture of what to pursue. But you know what, I went home and pursued the things he told me to put down. I spent a whole year of energy, stress and money, trying to get something going that wasn’t God’s plan. Then another whole year trying to get myself out of the mess I’d found myself in.  I was overwhelmed and finally surrendered everything to God….broken again.

So when he had given me the picture, and I saw what he wanted me to do…why did I disobey and do the other things instead?

I can only put it down to my human nature…and good old sin. I had a strong desire to see what could happen with the other ideas, hoping I’d be able to help lots of people who’s needs had been on my heart.  But in the end, all it did was cause me a LOT of stress and show me that I didn’t have the capacity to do it.  There have been consequences of course, one being that I’ve developed IBS through the stress and am now having to learn to manage that.

But I can sing God’s praises because never for one moment in the time of my disobedience did he leave me or forsake me.  I knew even in the darkest times that he was still there and one particularly difficult day I heard his voice reminding me that Jesus was the one I was trusting in.  God is infinitely kind and he has enabled me to learn some things that are going to be useful in the future, even from my mistakes.

There’s a lot said in churches about the consequences of sin, and I am realising that for myself.  BUT I know even more the depth of his mercy and love and how when you do confess your sins, he is faithful and just and remembers our sins no more.

So here I am, a bit older, and a bit wiser.  Last week I went to Keswick again to join the wonderful Pete and Christine Winmill from Count Everyone In.   God spoke to me again, in the same place and reminded me of his love for me and the job he’s given me to do.  He has helped me sort out the mess and now it feels like starting again, back to where I should have been and ready to do the things he’s prepared for me to do.  It’s very exciting and I want to dance with praise!

I hope I’ve learned to listen to God first time from now on.  I hope I can remember that even great ideas, that are kind, helpful and compassionate…may not be the right things for me to pursue.

I’m going back to prayer and those projects that God did say I should do two years ago.  God has wonderfully arranged for me to have some time available to start a new thing, and led us to a church where I feel I can grow, meet people who can join me and opportunities to be able to test things out.

First I’m going to start the ‘Sensory Bible Story project’.  I’d appreciate your prayers and if any of you would like to pass on any encouragement, words or pictures from God, they’d be most appreciated.

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Comments on: "Starting a new thing in Accessible Church ministry." (6)

  1. Sounds exciting Lynn, go for it! x

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  2. Cheering you on Lynn! 🙂

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  3. jackiepotter said:

    What you’ve so humbly shared reminds me that God’s mercies are new every morning and that he is infinitely creative in how he can use our gifts.  He knows your heart and will always realign you in the direction of greatest fulfilment and usefulness. I don’t say this in any glib way, but from personal experience! Praying for abundant blessings in this new season! Jackie

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