Everyone has a desire to belong and be accepted. Feelings of isolation and loneliness are common for those with a disability. A caring friend can be a lifeline.
In Luke 14, Jesus reminds us that when we include people who are poor or have a disability, we are the ones who receive the greatest blessing. He goes on to further explain that the Kingdom of God is inclusive, and all are invited. People with special needs are valuable, and the church should be mindful to treat them as such. Sports Illustrated featured an article about the special relationship between a man with a disability, James “Radio” Kennedy, and the local high school football coach, Harold Jones (Gary Smith, “Someone to Lean On,”Sports Illustrated, December 16, 1996, https://www.si.com/vault/James-“Radio”-Kennedy). Radio found a place to belong and be loved for who he is. The sense of home that Radio has found with the students and staff of T.L. Hanna High School is the same type of unconditional love and security that the church can offer those who have unique needs. It can be intimidating to serve in areas of ministry you don’t have experience with. Be open to reaching and learning from people who are already doing it with effect or try joining along with an established ministry. Most local communities have government or nonprofit organizations that focus on serving the addicted, homeless, veterans,or people with mental or physical disabilities. This post from Chris Hulshof outlines ways the church can welcome, minister to, and engage people and families affected by a disability (Chris Hulshof, “Three Ways the Church Can Better Serve Special Needs Families,” The Exchange with Ed Stetzer[blog],Christianity Today, November 4, 2015, https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2015/november/three-ways-church-can-better-serve-special-needs-families.html).4.