Angie is a committed Christian whose son, Marvin, is intellectually disabled. She greatly desired Marvin to worship with the family. Yet, she also felt a need for more respite time. The answer for her was The Special Gathering Saturday program.
Caroline and Fred have one son, Donny. They worship as a family on Sunday evenings and Wednesday nights at a large metropoitan church. However, on Sunday morning, Donny worships with his peers at Special Gathering.
Both women are strong advocates for their sons as well as advocating for other people with developmental disabilities. They found–for different reasons–that their children needed additional time away from their parents. However, the core need was that their sons were lonely and needed to be with their friends.
All of us have a need to be with others. People are not psychologically built to be hermits. We are a communal mammal. Because the Lord made us, He understands our need for community. The core social network He ordained was the family. Later, he built and blessed the nation of Israel, which evolved into Judea. Without a native land to congeal their existance, the Jewish people have miraculously survived 2,000 years; and they are now again a strong nation.
When Jesus ascended into heaven, he left a small core of believers–the church. At best, the church is a group of imperfect, marred rebels; but we are the people for whom Jesus died. And he knew who we were before he died for us. His requirements are that we submit to him and his will, asking for forgiveness of our sins and having willing hearts to be changed into his image. We need each other to grow properly.
At Special Gathering and other ministries within the special needs community, a deep need for communal understanding is met. While everyone involved with Special Gathering understands that the Church as a whole needs the gifts of our members, we also recognize that our members have an equally deep desire for fellowship with each other.
When I was a young mother, I gravitated to other young parents. As my children grew, I hung out with the mothers and fathers who attended the baseball games and the swim team moms. As Christians, we got together to pray for our children and we conducted children’s neighborhood Bible classes. People with common needs congregate and segregate according to our needs.
What are some of your needs? Are you able to find people who can minister to your unique desires? Do you find that you can best understand and minister to people who are different from you and more like you?