On Friday, July 2, I went to the Young Life camp that is being held in Central Florida for young men and women with physical and mental disabilities.  They are all involved with the Capernaum Project, a division of Young Life that works with high school students who have disabilities.  It was an exhilarating experience to see several hundred teenagers and young adults with disabilities playing and praying together with other teens who were ministering to the campers with special needs.

The youth came from several states across the southern part of the US.  We weren’t able to arrive in time for the corporate worship; but we had lunch and then sat in a break-out class that was geared for the teens who wanted to be songwriters.  One young man with tendencies within the autism spectrum took over the class before the teacher arrived.  He wrote an excellent, impromptu song about one of the other campers’ T-shirts.  We all laughed at his rhyming lyrics extolling the virtues of the lowly T-shirt.

I sat laughing with the rest of the group delighting in the talents of this gifted young man.  Additionally, I was thrilled that these young people are being exposed to the good news of Christ’s death and resurrection, coupled with God’s unbounding love.  After the class, I spoke with a man from Greenville, SC who has 60 young people in his group.

“We don’t know what will happen to these teens when they graduate from high school.  We try to prepare them for the future but it’s unrealistic that they will fit into a local church as an adult any more than they fit when they were teenagers.

“We find that after these young people graduate, they are lost.  We are starting a program for these adults.”  He was interested in visiting our program in SC.  Local congregations often lag behind a dedicated missions supporter.  It isn’t that the local church isn’t concern but they simply do not see the need or they have no idea how to do a particular ministry.

It was a heady and exciting time for all of us.  These teens are the future of disability ministry.  But I was left with the question ringing in my heart, “What will you do about what you have experienced today?”  I don’t have an answer but I have a new prayer in my heart.