International (MNN) — It only takes a handful of people with the same vision to do something beautiful. Any good ministry can attest to that.
For The King’s Table Ministries, this is their mode of operation.
Most ministries focus on a particular group of people. They might choose by need or region. There are times when the group of people ministered to transcend usual demographics, however.
For Sally Gallagher and her husband, both from The King’s Table Ministries, their group of focus is people with special needs. But as you’ll see from this story, a ministry can have much more of an impact than they ever anticipated.
A ministry’s calling
God can guide a ministry in a number of ways. It’s always nice when he makes His plan so obvious to you that it’s only natural to follow.
When The King’s Table Ministries began to take shape, it began as a place for people with special needs to get together and praise God and be ministered to in others ways as well. It was a very good start.
But then came the day that a bystander was impacted by what she saw in the worship service.
Gallagher says, “We had a woman give her life to the Lord because she watched them worship with the music.”
The lady asked why these people, ones she considered to be broken, were so happy.
For her, a God big enough to bring joy to a group of people often overlooked by society was a God big enough for her to follow.
This was the first hint that ministry to people with special needs could impact the larger community as well.
The Gallaghers began to observe how people responded to the ministry when they came in contact with it. “We noticed that it was all encompassing with what we do with bringing people that had never heard the Gospel before,” Gallagher says.
Three circles of impact
When your church partners with King’s Table Ministries, you begin to work in three different spheres within your community.
- First, King’s Table Ministries helps you set up a special needs ministry within your own church to meet the needs of families already attending the church.
- From there, they help your ministry get integrated into the local school systems. All of a sudden, there’s the potential to reach teachers, staff, and families of the children going to these schools with the Gospel. It speaks volumes for someone to go out of their way and help a family with children with special needs.
- And finally, the ministry can begin reaching out into the community. By establishing relationships with local group homes of adults with special needs, the church can invite them to hear about Jesus. When they get connected with a church, that means their caregivers, staff, and families might come along too.
Far reaching impact
Gallagher is excited about how easily large portions of the community can be reached from a relatively small beginning.
“You need just a handful of people with the love for the Gospel and seeing people come to Christ and a love for special needs people,” Gallagher says. These people, rooted in a local church, are the starting point.
What this implies is that to replicate this model is to reach communities all around the world.
“Every community has special needs people. It doesn’t matter if you’re in France, Yugoslavia, or Texas–very state, every country. It crosses every boundary and every people group, special needs people do,” Gallagher says.
As you cross cultures and country borders, you’ll face communities of all different kinds. With each change, there comes a variety of challenges. For instance, in the United States the challenges faced might revolve around finances or the need for open hearts.
In other countries, more sinister challenges exist.
Gallagher says, “There are definite barriers in different countries. A lot of times they’re thrown out to die or hidden by the family because it’s a shameful thing.”
A new way of thinking opens doors
When The King’s Table Ministries began with simple worship services, they were able to see like never before how these people carried a special image of God. That realization is what they want to spread to other communities around the world. By presenting this image of Christ, people with special needs have a unique witness to others about who God is.
And often it begins with someone showing love to them. “When you approach people in a different culture or country [with a] special needs child, and you love their child, the first thing they want to know is why.”
This question brings about discussion about God as Creator and about His Son Jesus, our Savior.
Looking for this in your own church?
Initiate contact with The King’s Table Ministry to see how they can help your church start a special needs ministry. You never know how this ministry could welcome communities to the table of the King.
If you just want to get involved, consider volunteering in the Grand Rapids area. You can contact them with your questions here.