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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.
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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.
Unfortunately in most of our churches, children with special needs are shoved aside due to what seems like insurmountable walls that we have unwittingly place around our church ministries. Yet if you desire to break down these barriers, there is a book that will help you in this endeavor, Every Child Welcome: A Ministry Handbook for Including Kids with Special Needs, by Tate Wetherbee and Jolene Philo. This book is produced by Kregel Publications, takes Jesus’s words spoken to his disciples in the gospels very seriously specifically when he stated “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for two such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
Even if our hearts desire is to minister to all the children in our ministry or welcoming those who have special needs into our ministries, then a game plan needs to be devised to include those who need to hear the gospel in a way that is tangible to their ears. In Every Child Welcome, Weatherbee and Philo demonstrate to children’s ministry leaders how to create an environment that is not only welcoming to children with special needs, but includes them in activities that makes them feel a heart of the local church. One thing that the author stress is to avoid singling any child out due to their inability or problematic actions to any lesson, game, or activity.
With this in mind Weatherbee and Philo lay out a great philosophy of ministry but truly focus on how to practically and faithfully fulfill that philosophy. This is a book that a children’s ministry leader will come back to again and again, not only for ideas for the children’s ministry but how to fine-tune their Ministry to make it more accessible to any and all children who desire to hear God’s word from their local church. As a children’s Minister myself I highly recommend this book as a practical tool for not only children’s pastors but for each and every children’s ministry leader so that their hearts may be melted in their arms may be opened to welcome any and all children who enter their ministry.
This book was provided to me free of charge from Kregel Press in exchange for an unbiased, honest review.
Every Child Welcome: A Ministry Handbook for Including Kids with Special Needs
© 2015 by Tate Wetherbee and Jolene Philo
Publisher: Kregel Press
Page Count: 176 Pages