Saturday, February 15, 2014

"ARE YOU SERIOUS?" AWARDS - Volume V

Jesus said, “Don’t stop children from coming to me! Children like these are part of the kingdom of God.” 
~ Matthew 19:14, GW ~

Oh, how many times have we all seen lovely painted depictions of this verse with Jesus surrounded by perfect, primped, precious youngsters!

Yet, every day in this country, churches continue to turn children with special needs away from the Savior.  It is one of the paramount frustrations of the role in which I serve.  I want to march right up to pastors and church leaders wagging my finger, shouting, "And you call yourselves CHRISTIANS?!"

Despite all of the collaboration, trainings and quality resources we, in special needs ministry, have poured ourselves into, too many churches STILL dig their heels in, refusing to grow their competency in welcoming children with myriad special needs.

Adding to my own personal frustrations this week was a 2 part series by Sheri Dacon.  In her heartbreaking  personal narrative, When You’re on the Outside Looking In {My Church Experience as a Special Needs Parent}, Sheri details how not even being a long-time church member exempted her child from being alienated.  Without consultation, discussion, or mutual cooperation her son was literally SHUT OUT from his community faith formation. 

THIS SIMPLY MUST STOP!

As a result, the "winners" of this week's award goes to Sheri Dacon's former church and EVERY OTHER Christian church out there with messed up priorities, that sends their members on missions trips around the world while they neglect and mistreat the least of God's children right there in their midst. 

Are you SERIOUS?!

 
While churches like you may qualify as this weeks "winners", you make the children you shut out and the families you alienate through your lack of compassion losers.  They experience loss of community, loss of spiritual growth, loss of love and acceptance as image-bearers of God because of churches like you.  Jesus referred to leaders like you as "hypocrites," "blind guides," "whitewashed tombs," "snakes," and "brood of vipers". (See Matthew 23:13-39) God forbid!

The era of putting on a fancy, high-tech show on Sundays while neglecting the deep heart needs of 16% of all children and their families must come to an end.  If ever there were a group of people HUNGRY for the hope that Christ alone can give, it is those struggling to make eternal sense of a child with special needs.  This means that pastors and staff need to unpack their suitcases, put away their passports, roll up their sleeves, and work through the tough, ugly work of helping the suffering right there in their midst.

If churches continue to neglect this clarion call, they will continue to look like nothing more than what they truly are -- a bunch of modern-day PHARISEES.

"Followers of Jesus..." photo image courtesy of 123rf.com

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