It is interesting that ministries within the mentally challenged community don’t seem to be worrying about being relevant.  You see, our relevance is increasingly apparent.  As more and more children within the autism spectrum advance to adulthood, parents are seeing in larger numbers that the message and hope of Christ our Savior is what they need. 

As in the 50’s and 60’s, parents are leading the charge urging new treatment methods, improved techniques and better medications to help their children.   Recently Focus on the Family radio show replayed a program which featured Chuck Colson and his daughter, Emily sharing about her son, Max.  Now 19, Max’s disability is within the autism spectrum.  Briefly, Emily spoke about how the church could not minister to her and her son.  Later she shared how her current congregation is ministering to her son by allowing him to be an essential part of the ministry team.

The biggest problem with autism is that medical and mental health professionals have not determined exactly what autism is.  They have a set of symptoms and benchmarks which allows them to diagnose the spectrum; but not knowing whether it is a mental health or a medical issue makes a cure impossible and treatment spotty at best.

Part of the concerns of ministry within the community of people who fall within the autism spectrum is their ability to understand.  If developmental disabilities are not present, then it is finding the key which unlocks their minds and spirits to the world outside their inner turmoil.  If developmental disabilities are present, then it is still necessary to find the key which unlocks their minds and spirits to the world.  Though it is beyond our understanding, the message of Christ has become part of that key of some of our members in Special Gathering.

It has been estimated that one child in 100 will be diagnosed within the autism spectrum.  Many of these children will live happy and productive lives with a minimal amount of professional intervention.  Others will need consistent treatment and creative love to survive the chaotic world which swirls around them.  In short, they need the message of Christ’s peace and joy.

Several professionals attend Special Gathering on a regular basis.  They report to their overseers that there is a peace and joy that allows calm to reach into the hearts of the people with disabilities when they bring their residents or consumers to our local programs.  Of course, there are times…

Within the world of disabilities, there is still an open door to minister the gospel of Christ.  The message is there.  The joy and the positive effects of God’s transforming love is apparent, even to the skeptic.  Within your community, look on the fields.  There is great fruit ready for the harvest. 

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