- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Kregel Publications (April 27, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0825443504
- ISBN-13: 978-0825443503
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #340,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Every Child Welcome: A Ministry Handbook for Including Kids with Special Needs Paperback – April 27, 2015
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"Katie Wetherbee and Jolene Philo could not possibly make the notion of serving kids with special needs more inviting than they have in this book! Tremendously engaging in using the metaphor of welcoming dinner guests, these seasoned experts make it easy for any church to follow the recipe for inclusion success. This is a must-own reference for children's ministry directors of any denomination." (Barb Dittrich, Snappin' Ministries 2015-04-27)
"I have been waiting for this book for more than a decade! Every other disability ministry book is written with me, a special needs ministry leader, in mind as the audience. Every Child Welcome is a book that I can put in every volunteer's hands to equip them to say yes to children of all abilities. Not only does it offer a diverse menu of easy-to-understand teaching strategies, the cherry on top is the chapter on supporting children with disabilities as they serve. As a ministry leader and as a special needs mom, I’m so thankful for Jolene's and Katie's reminders that all of us have something to contribute to the body of Christ." (Shannon Dingle, MAEd, Special needs ministry leader at Providence Baptist Church (Raleigh, NC) 2015-04-27)
"Jolene Philo and Katie Wetherbee have created an amazing resource for all churches with programming for children. The specificity and range of this new book are not only supportive of children with special needs but the suggestions will serve to improve the quality and welcome for all children. It's a recipe for success!" (Barbara J. Newman, author and church services director for CLC Network 2015-04-27)
"Katie Wetherbee and Jolene Philo have pulled from their vast resources and personal experiences to create a how-to book that provides help beyond setting up an inclusive ministry program. This book offers instant ideas, from peer greeters to sponge activities and service projects, for the teacher who wants to include a child with special needs but feels unequipped to do so. A great resource to use alongside any Sunday school curriculum for shaping hearts and changing lives." (Marjorie Redford, Children's product editor, HeartShaper® Children’s Curriculum 2015-04-27)
"As a mother of two adopted daughters with twelve medical and mental health diagnoses between them, I felt myself breathe deep the hope that such a resource can bring to the church of God worldwide. This guide takes what could seem an overwhelming and daunting task--inviting children with disabilities fully into the life of a church--and makes it both possible and exciting. I recommend every church have a copy of this book on hand, not just for their children's ministries, but for how it can help churches grow in all ways to fulfill Luke 14's mandate: inviting EVERYone to God's table of fellowship and ministry." (Laurie Wallin, author of Get Your Joy Back 2015-04-27)
About the Author
Katie Wetherbee (BA, Special Education, Vanderbilt University; MA, Education, Hood College) has worked as a public school teacher and is now a speaker and educational consultant. Her experience as a mother to a child with special needs, along with her teaching background and leadership in children’s ministry, gives her a fully-developed perspective on children’s ministry.
Jolene Philo’s (BA, Elementary Education, Westmar College; MS, Effective Teaching, Drake University) first child was born with a life-threatening birth defect. Their son survived and is an adult now, but their experiences created a deep desire to reach out to parents of critically or chronically ill children. Jolene has been a public school teacher with an inclusive classroom and is author of A Different Dream for My Child, Different Dream Parenting, and Caregiver’s Notebook.
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Top customer reviews
Katie and Jolene have successfully managed to distill a lifetime of experience as educators, ministry leaders and parents of children with disabilities into a concise guide for anyone seeking seeking to share the love of Christ with kids. Every Child Welcome is STUFFED with hundreds of practical ideas and strategies for including kids of all levels of intellectual, physical, developmental and emotional disability into the environments and activities in which we help them to grow to know and love God. This is not a book that will be read once and stuck on a shelf...well-worn copies will be found on the desks and in the workspaces of those serving in children's ministry, family ministry and special needs ministry because it is destined to become the "go-to" reference when leaders look for answers in seeking to minister with kids with disabilities and their families.
While I can't buy a copy for every children's ministry or special needs ministry leader in the country, I can (and did) buy copies for the ministry leaders serving at my church.
Added to the natural challenges of teaching children are the challenges brought on by children who have special needs. Whether it is autism, learning disorders, physical handicaps, or children who suffer from one form of abuse or another, ministering to children with special needs is a challenge that very few are equipped to handle in a church setting once or twice a week, let alone feel comfortable handling.
As a father of two special needs children (two girls who were born without eyes) and as a children’s teacher in my local church, I am daily living with the challenges of working with children with special needs. While there are a lot of resources out there to help parents with special needs children, there are not many resources to equip children’s workers in the local church to more effectively and confidently minister to special needs children for the few hours a week they might have with them.
Since resources are sparse I welcome new works aimed at equipping children’s ministry workers to work with special needs children. One such new resource is Every Child Welcome: A Ministry Handbook for Including Kids with Special Needs (Kregel, 2015). The authors, Katie Wetherbee and Jolene Philo, are definitely equipped and qualified to write this book. Both of them have children with special needs, have degrees in education, and have spent most of their professional careers teaching special needs children in public schools.
The premise of Every Child Welcome is that every child, despite having special needs, needs to be ministered to with the gospel in the local church. This is grounded in Jesus’ words in Matthew 19:14, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” Since Jesus’ statement included ALL children so should the aim of our churches children’s ministry. The kingdom is for every child and “no child is disqualified because of preexisting physical conditions, mental illness, or behavioral issues.” (9)
As the subtitle of the book indicates, this is a handbook. As a handbook, the book is structured more like a manual on how to address needs and apply the numerous strategies the authors lay out in the book. This style of book fits well with the goal of equipping children’s ministry leaders to clearly see, understand, and effectively implement the various suggestions and strategies the authors present.
While the content is presented in a handbook style, it is woven together through the picture of how a person would host dinner guests. Each chapter addresses another stage in the meal process for guests. From the main dish to desert. For ministering to children with special needs this ranges from creating a space that is welcoming and sensitive, to creative ideas for enhancing their learning through fun activities meant to supplement the lesson.
While there many ideas that would work for non-special needs children, the authors definitely give workers a ton of helpful advice and tools that will equip them to more effectively, and less stress-fully, minister to children with special needs. Some readers will feel overwhelmed with all of the advice offered. There is no need to feel like everything in the book needs to be implemented overnight. What you are reading is the result of years of working with children and not overnight quick fixes. It will take time to implement the strategies suggested. There will be trial and error as their was for the authors. But the children are worth it.
Every Child Welcome needs to be read by every children’s pastor and children’s ministry worker. The authors have thought of everything and have presented the material in an easy to read and helpful format for easy referencing. This book will help to ease the natural frustrations that children’s ministry workers may feel when ministering to children with special needs. Though the desire to minister is there, the tools and ability are not always. This book will give you the tools, thus enabling you to minister with more understanding and confidence to those children with special needs that God has brought to your church.
I received this book for free from Kregel for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”