Over the last fifteen years I have had the wonderful pleasure of meeting many people who are doing wonderful work with and on behalf of those with special needs. Many of them are working in very unique ways or areas to make life better for those with special needs. All of them speak of the vision they have or the experiences they themselves have had that gives them the drive to make a difference. These organizations are as unique as each person, and while their goals are different I have wondered if there is one common theme or statement which all of us are working on. Not a direct mission statement for each group but an over arching statement of the ultimate goal which we all have been uniquely gifted to address. I see this like the metaphor of many oars in the water rowing in the same direction. Is there something we can all state as the ultimate result of our work? It can’t be something small it has to be a goal, which we cannot reach on our own, it has to be something that even with all of us working together, still requires God’s intervention to accomplish.
The difficultly in developing this goal, may be the very diversity of the people we serve. For example we have created Sunday school classes for every age in our church, our church serves nursery to adults every week. Despite having these programs there are those in our church who don’t want their family members in our classes. They come every week and sit in the service or out in the lobby viewing area or continue to work with the youth department to have their child go to the standard Sunday school options. I have felt a twinge of hurt at times as they pass our room knowing we want to serve them, but I also need to understand that involvement in our program is not the ultimate goal. Having a different classroom to many, could be only a stopgap measure on the road to an ultimately better scenario.
To be sure it must speak of each person and the value that they have, it must speak of the goal not in terms of a specific program, but of the value of having each individual being a part of it. It must also reflect not our goal but those of our Creator. If we believe He is the designer of life, then we must believe in the value of each individual and ultimately the purpose of everyone.
I know that this is a statement, which is not easily drafted, nor is it of any value if it does not include input from many sources. I hope to not presume that I have some great insight but I work better from a draft, something that lets me reflect on the words and then work to make it better. So I offer a starting point for discussion.
Believing that God has created each of us uniquely in His image, our goal is that every person would be included in the community of believers as full members. And as such allowed and encouraged to learn about and express their relationship with God in the unique ways in which he has gifted them!
I hope to dialog on this and ultimately see the vision we all share reached for the cause of Christ!