Abstract: Families with special needs children appear largely absent from churches relative to their percentage of the population. These families often feel unwelcome and misunderstood, sometimes leading to a rejection of church and the faith. To address passing on faith to the next generation of special needs families, churches need to cultivate a cultural change. This includes intentional repudiation of the moral model of disability in all its practical forms, understanding the limitations of sensory and other physical obstacles in the learning environment, and cultivating partnerships with parents to address unique challenges to participating in the ministries of the church.
Matthew McCraney, D.Min., is a chaplain (Major) in the U.S. Army and serves as the senior chaplain for 7th Special Forces Group. He holds a D.Min. from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and is a Ph.D. candidate at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is married with four children, one with special needs.