From the Inside OutDirector- From The Inside Out- Special Needs Ministry



Two years ago, if you asked me what I would be doing today, I would definitely not have included my current role as the Director of a disability ministry!  Although my life has been touched by disability since I was a young child, I never dreamed God would direct my life in such an amazing way.

From The Inside Out– Special Needs Ministry opened its doors and its heart to the Cobourg community in 2011 and has been growing steady ever since.  We minister from the Fellowship Baptist Church in Cobourg, Ontario and are so blessed to be a part of such a supportive church community.  The church has always welcomed those with disabilities, however, they have never been compelled to start a special needs ministry and when I approached my new pastor about the possibility, I think he was as surprised as I was!  After all, I had only become a member of the church a few months prior.

In the beginning stages of ministry, I was clueless as to how to run a ministry.  I researched everything I could, spoke to other churches who were already ministering in this area, and prayed…..A LOT!  Over the past two years I have come to understand the importance of this area of ministry and have learned so much about the love and grace of God.  Unfortunately, with this understanding, also comes the disappointment and heartache caused by the realization that as a church, and as God’s people, we are failing miserably.

The very first scripture the Lord guided me to was 1 Corinthians 12:23-26.

“And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, 24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, 25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it”.

Never before had that scripture touched my heart so deeply.  I had read it many times over the course of my life, yet upon reading it again, I was hit with the realization that we have been doing it wrong for so long.  When I took a few minutes to really reflect on what God was telling me, I knew that He wanted me to do something about it.

So here I am, the Director of a ministry that grows everyday, but is such a difficult ministry to lead.  There are so many preconceived ideas about what those affected with disabilities are capable of or not capable of and whether their limitations are a curse or a blessing.  Even within a congregation of believers, you will find all sorts of opinions and false teaching.  My goal as a disability ministry leader is simple, to reach as many people as I can for Christ and to teach an acceptance of ALL people, able-bodied or otherwise.

Our ministry focus is to serve families who are affected by disability.  To help them realize the love God has for them and to let they know, through word AND action that they are welcome in the church, in fact, they are NEEDED, because as the scriptures tell us, the weakest parts are just as important as the strong parts and the body of Christ is not complete without them!

Valerie Bradford