We are always looking for partners who inspire us and push us to think outside of our own experience, and it’s a pleasure to introduce Key Ministry as one of those partners. We encourage you to check them out!
When our team launched Key Ministry in 2002, we did so to help churches serve families of children with “hidden disabilities”… significant emotional, behavioral, developmental or neurologic conditions that posed major barriers to families connecting with a local church.
Flash forward ten years…the disability ministry movement has grown by leaps and bounds in its’ capacity to help kids with “special needs” to attend church. Churches made great progress including families of kids with intellectual disabilities, genetic syndromes and cognitive impairment. We have successful strategies for inclusion (buddy ministries, self-contained classrooms) and outreach (respite, “proms” or other special event ministries). But kids with “special needs” represent only a small portion of the disabled population struggling to connect through the local church. Most kids and families impacted by disability would NEVER think of themselves as candidates to be served by a “special needs” ministry…they’re reluctant to self-identify and will flee ministry interventions that draw attention to their differences because they desperately want to fit in with everyone else.
Our team pondered this… What need has God uniquely called and positioned us to meet that other ministry organizations haven’t been able to address? We concluded…
Key Ministry provides knowledge, innovation and experience to the worldwide church as it ministers to and with families of children impacted by mental illness, trauma and developmental disabilities.
Mental illness is the leading cause of disability in North America. On any given weekend, the number of Americans attending a worship service is roughly equal to those with a serious mental health condition. Church leaders struggle to develop strategies for ministry to people who are disabled in some environments, but not others. We’re called to come alongside ministry leaders and like-minded organizations seeking to break down the barriers that keep kids and families impacted by mental illness, trauma and developmental disabilities from fully participating in the life of the local church.
Our team is currently pursuing four initiatives to advance disability inclusion in the church…
Online ministry: We’ve developed an online platform to deliver free, interactive ministry training to any church with access to high-speed internet service. We host Inclusion Fusion, a free, worldwide disability ministry Web Summit scheduled for November 12th-13th. We’re experimenting with online church as a strategy to help churches connect with families impacted by disability in their local communities.
FREE Consultation: Churches need not just resources, but relationships to effectively minister to families with disability. Key Ministry offers a FREE consultation service to churches of all sizes seeking to minister to families with disabilities, staffed by highly qualified and seasoned ministry leaders.
Influencing church leaders: We’re seeking opportunities to influence influence senior pastors and other church leaders to become champions of disability ministry and reaching out to seminaries for opportunities to train future pastors and church leaders.
Building institutional relationships: We’re seeking collaborations with like-minded ministry organizations (like CLC Network!) with complementary gift sets and interests, publishers, conference organizers, parachurch organizations, foundations and sponsors to optimize our capacity for casting influence with churches.
To reach people no one else is reaching, we have to try stuff no one else is trying. Key Ministry is honored to serve alongside other like-minded Christians and organizations in a disability movement leading to a future when there will be a church for every child.
Stephen Grcevich, MD is Director of Strategic Initiatives for Key Ministry, after having served as the ministry’s Board Chairman from 2002-2014. He is a physician specializing in child and adolescent psychiatry. Dr. Grcevich is a faculty member at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and Northeast Ohio Medical University, and has been involved with research evaluating the safety and effectiveness of medication used to treat children and teens with depression, anxiety, ADHD and schizophrenia. He blogs at Church4EveryChild.