Key Ministry

A letter to #MyYoungerSelf | Church4EveryChild – Children’s Ministry Christian Article

Editor’s note: The Child Mind Institute has launched the #MyYoungerSelf campaign during Mental Health Month to counter the stigma for the 1 in 5 children struggling with these disorders. This May actors, athletes, social influencers, business people and others are sending a message of hope about their experiences growing up with a mental health or learning disorder. Here’s a letter from the leader of our ministry team to an eleventh grade boy who was going through a difficult time.  Hey Doctor…

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Ten disability ministry trends to watch in the 2020s – Children’s Ministry Christian Article

When our team sat down in 2010 to engage in the planning process that led to the creation of this blog and all the other resources we make available to churches and families, we had some ideas about the direction disability ministry might take in the 2010s. In retrospect, God was clearly at work laying the foundation of a disability ministry movement with a scope and impact far greater than anything we could have imagined at the time. The last…

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Are kids from devoutly Christian families with same-sex attraction at higher risk of suicide? – Children’s Ministry Christian Article

The featured article in this month’s Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP) is titled LGBT Youth, Mental Health, and Spiritual Care: Psychiatric Collaboration With Health Care Chaplains. As one of a very small number of Academy members in a position to comment on the cultural competency necessary in working with Christian families who adhere to traditional church teaching regarding sexual expression, I’ve been wrestling with how to best respond to the authors. One reason this…

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My day at the White House – Children’s Ministry Christian Article

It was a delight to run into Janet Parshall – a true champion for persons impacted by mental illness in the church – at the White House Summit I was honored to have been invited this past Thursday to participate in the White House’s Mental Health Summit. I suspect the invitation resulted from our ministry’s involvement in a unique project intended to help churches and other places of worship better care for and support individuals and families impacted by mental…

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How any church can “Make ‘M Smile” – Children’s Ministry Christian Article

I’ve wanted for many years to attend Make’ M Smile, an annual community festival held in Downtown Orlando every year on the first Saturday of June to celebrate children and adults with special needs and their families by Nathaniel’s Hope, a wonderful Christian organization that has helped churches from all across the country to launch respite ministries serving special needs families. The Orlando celebration his grown to involve tens of thousands of people with dozens of sponsors, including corporations not…

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Giving thanks for Key Ministry’s most impactful year to date – Children’s Ministry Christian Article

  I think my favorite part of my job with Key Ministry is affording other people opportunities to use their gifts and talents to honor and serve God. That’s a lot of what we do – giving pastors, ministry leaders and volunteers the tools, resources, relationships and platforms to connect churches and families impacted by disability for the purpose of making disciples of Jesus Christ. In 2019, we enjoyed  unprecedented opportunities to advance the cause of disability ministry. Here are…

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A church that truly gets mental health ministry – Children’s Ministry Christian Article

  Late this past summer, I received a call from Denise Petek, an experienced and highly regarded leader in the local special needs ministry community, currently serving as children’s ministry director at Cuyahoga Valley Church (CVC). She was extending an invitation to meet with CVC’s leadership team to talk about mental health inclusion. I put together a very abbreviated version of the training we typically offer to churches, in which we highlight the extent to which mental health disabilities reduce…

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A different way of looking at “Christian Privilege” – Children’s Ministry Christian Article

While checking my social media accounts upon returning home from an evening with my lovely wife, I saw that #ChristianPrivilege was trending on Twitter. If you click the link, you’ll find a number of comments that are somewhat less than complimentary about the teachings and practitioners of our faith. Not being a recent college graduate or someone who might be considered a social justice warrior, my first instinct was to think of the incredible privileges we enjoy as Christians. I was…

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A Call for Speakers to “Illuminate” – Inclusion Fusion Live 2020 – Children’s Ministry Christian Article

  On behalf of our team at Key Ministry, I’d like to extend an invitation to pastors, ministry leaders, volunteers and individuals interested in ministry with children, adults and families impacted by disability to join us in Cleveland on April 24-25 for Inclusion Fusion Live 2020 (#IFL2020), our third national conference designed to bring church leaders and families together to share ideas to advance the disability ministry movement taking root throughout the worldwide church. Last year’s conference was a huge…

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Why are suicide rates up 56% among youth in this past decade? – Children’s Ministry Christian Article

While I was away this week at the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s (AACAP) Annual Meeting, a report was issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control describing a 56% increase in the suicide rate over the last ten years among Americans between the ages of 10 and 24. Among the “highlights” of the report… The pace of increase for suicide was greater from 2013 to 2017 (7% annually, on average) than from 2007 to 2013 (3% annually).…

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A proliferation of disability ministry training – Children’s Ministry Christian Article

We initiated a conversation this past March about making high quality disability ministry training available within a half-day drive of every church in the U.S. The conversation stimulated lots of interest in the Special Needs and Disability Ministry Leaders group we help to facilitate on Facebook, and many in the group volunteered trainings and events sponsored by the the churches and ministries where they serve. This past weekend alone, we’re aware of three significant ministry conferences involving national speakers that…

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A psychiatrist’s thoughts on pastors and suicide – Children’s Ministry Christian Article

The most encouraging ministry development I’ve witnessed in 2019 is the way God is calling so many of his people to transform ministry with individuals and families struggling with mental illness. I’m probably aware of five times as many leaders serving in mental health ministry compared to this time last year. The interest is reflected in the volume of requests our ministry team receives for training, resources and support. One organization I hadn’t been aware of until this past week…

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What the Babylon Bee can teach the church about mental health ministry – Children’s Ministry Christian Article

The Babylon Bee is one of my guilty pleasures. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the Bee is a wickedly funny satire site written by Christians, for Christians – like the Onion, but better – that lampoons politicians of both parties, televangelists, Christian celebrities, denominations, Hollywood and pop culture. More so than anything else, the Bee makes fun of church culture.  If I have a couple of minutes between patients in the middle of the afternoon, I’ll go check…

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