Tag Archives: disability

Layperson Launches, Leads Ministry for Families of Children with Disabilities

Victory Lane Camp is about building community in Jesus’ name.

By Carl Stagner

“No family should have to raise their children facing disabilities alone.” That’s the premise of Victory Lane Camp, a parachurch ministry in New Castle, Indiana, founded by Brett Fischer. Brett and his family, who have called South Memorial Drive Church of God their home church since 1999, have experienced life’s ups and downs while brothers and sisters in Christ came alongside. When Brett felt God call him to start a camp ministry that would reach the whole family of children with disabilities, the church was there to provide prayerful and financial support—support which continues to this day. Victory Lane Camp didn’t just drop out of thin air; a series of dots had to connect to bring to life one of the most life-giving parachurch ministries anywhere. Behind the life change, the baptisms, the marriages restored, and the children transformed is a God who has called and equipped Christ-centered laypeople for the task. Continue reading

Deaf Ministry Family’s Inspirational Story Captured in 90-Minute Documentary

By Carl Stagner

Rachel was like any other newborn—cute, cuddly, curious. The daughter of Church of God music minister Marshall Lawrence and communication professor Terry appeared to be a perfectly healthy baby, even receiving an all-clear from her pediatrician. But there was one thing that set her apart, one thing that ultimately proved not a disability but a special ability. At fifteen months of age, Rachel was diagnosed as deaf, turning her parents’ world upside down and charting a course the family would never have expected to take. The emotionally gripping, thoroughly fascinating, and powerfully inspirational story of the Lawrence family’s journey with Rachel premiered late last year in Indianapolis as a ninety-minute documentary. Don Boggs, former Anderson University faculty member and producer of the early Gaither Homecoming videos, offers a close look at the making of his film. Continue reading

Ontario Outreach Builds Ramp to the Gospel through Disabilities Ministry

Reaching out to the disabled through fellowship and food.

By Noel Marquis

Pastors Bob and Cecile Barnhart of the Church of God at London in London, Ontario, are making a major difference in the lives of disabled people in their community. Though the Abilities Outreach ministry was officially launched in September, Pastors Bob and Cecile were inspired to reach out to the disabled before they began serving at the Church of God at London in 1999. The passion was sparked when Cecile began working at the Oxford County Branch of the Canadian Health Association. Continue reading

A Pastor’s Amazing, Agonizing Adventure of Adopting Special Needs Children

Ralph loves Ana and each of his adopted children.

By Carl Stagner

If you’ve been to many camp meetings across the country, chances are you’ve sat under the bold preaching or inspirational worship leading of pastor and evangelist Ralph Watts. The pastor emeritus of Columbus West Church of God in Columbus, Ohio, is used to sharing Bible stories and passages that point to Jesus Christ. But his own story points to Christ, too, one that is nothing short of remarkable. He and his wife Karen have fostered a total of thirty-five special needs children over the years, and have adopted fourteen. Continue reading

Missouri Church Holds VBS for Kids with Special Needs

VBS 2017 at South Side Church of God.

By Lydia Sergeant

South Side Church of God in St. Louis, Missouri, held a fantastic Vacation Bible School late in the summer. This was their second year to host a Bible school that not only included children from their own church, but also families of children with special needs. Continue reading

Seeing What Jesus Sees: Alabama Church Hosts Prom for Special Needs Guests

Photo: Special needs guest arrives at the prom.

By Carl Stagner

“I never thought I would be helping my daughter get ready for a prom,” one parent said. This daughter is among a group of people often overlooked or forgotten. But Jesus has never overlooked or forgotten them. He sees them. He sees their need. He sees their intrinsic worth. The Church of God congregation in Falkville, Alabama—known as Fairview: The Grace Place—has put on heaven’s glasses. They’re seeing what Jesus sees—people made in the image of their Maker, and worth all the love in the world. That’s why they recently hosted a prom for seventy people with special needs, complete with hair and makeup care, shoe shining, crown or tiara, delicious food, a limousine, and red-carpet treatment. Continue reading

By Faith and Not by Sight: A Blind Minister’s Vision Realized

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Photo: Sarah Blake LaRose

By Carl Stagner

A complication of premature birth, blindness has been an ever-present struggle for Sarah Blake LaRose. Though she’s had to endure the great challenges of blindness, and a variety of other physical hardships, she’s also seen clearly the beautiful nuances of life that many with fully functioning eyes may never see. Moreover, her contributions to society, particularly for the blind community, have been astounding. So astounding, in fact, that she was named one of this year’s Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award winners by the National Federation of the Blind. Sarah, who envisioned equal accessibility to scholarly study of the Bible for the blind, has, in many ways, herself contributed to the realization of that dream. Continue reading

Let Me See Jesus Only: A Blind Pastor’s Journey of Joy

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Photo: Pastor John Clegg

By Carl Stagner

John Clegg’s life was unraveling all around him. Years of drug addiction, promiscuity, and worsening eyesight was taking its toll. One fateful day he found himself sitting in his recliner, gun under his chin, ready to end it all right then and there. But that was the old John. That was before Jesus Christ changed his life. Though he cannot see his hand in front of his face today, he looks back and sees God’s fingerprints everywhere. For eighteen years, John has served as pastor of Southside Church of God in Muncie, Indiana. In spite of his blindness, this pastor says he sees farther now than he could ever see before. Continue reading