Children’s Ministry People You Should Know – Amy Fenton Lee
Amy Fenton Lee
MY FIVE FAVORITE “RECENT” ARTICLES FROM AMY
- Leading a Church’s Inclusion Initiative
- 5 Things to Know about the Mother of a Child with Autism
- Special Needs & The Future of Children’s Ministry
- Special Needs: Difference vs. Deficiency
- When Special Needs Ministry Becomes “Not My Problem”
MY PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS
Amy is one of those people that you could just sit and listen to for hours. On a personal level, she is one of the nicest and most encouraging people I have ever had the privilege of meeting. I have learned from her, been encouraged by her and have a great deal of respect for her as a children’s ministry leader and as a person. She is a bit of a kindred spirit and good friend. Her story of how she got involved in the world of special needs ministry is inspiring to me as it it similar to my involvement in DivorceMinistry4Kids. However it came to be, her work with churches in the area of special needs ministries has been a blessing to the church as a whole and she has become a respected voice in the world of special needs ministry. Perhaps the best thing I can say about her work is that I have nothing to do with special needs, yet I consistently learn from her work and her writing. Whether she is leading the charge for inclusion of special needs kids in church, talking about her own experiences as a wife and mother or sharing what it was like to grow up as a pastor’s kid in a southern church, Amy is someone you definitely want to know.
IN HER OWN WORDS
I asked Amy to answer the following question in “just a few sentences”:
What steps should a church who does not have a separate special needs ministry take to be prepared for the time when children with special needs do come to their church?
Here is how Amy answered that question:
· Ask a single question on the registration form for every new guest or visitor:
“We want every participant in “Kidstown*” to have a safe and successful church experience. Equipping our volunteers to best serve your child is important to us. Does your child have any allergies, medical needs, learning differences, or physical challenges that it may be helpful for us to know about?
*Replace with name of your church’s children’s ministry
· Designate a person in your children’s ministry to chat with parents who answer “yes” to the above question. This ministry leader should have some familiarity with good questions to ask parents to determine what issues may require immediate attention versus a follow-up conversation (after church) for a longer term plan of accommodation.
· Prepare one or two adults or responsible teens to serve as impromptu buddies. Perhaps this is a volunteer who serves as a floater and is available to be pulled away on a moment’s notice. Many churches have a bonus volunteer who is prepared to serve as a one-on-one helper to a new student with special needs.
· Keep a few of the following items on hand to provide as aides to “impromptu buddies”:
- Sensory Toys
- Play-dough (Gluten-free play is a bonus!)
- Noise reduction earmuffs
- Dum-Dum Pops for a reward or distracter (this candy is nearly hypoallergenic)
- A small, quiet area stocked with a few books, puzzles, and a CD player for music