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The Creek Rises to Embrace Families With Disabilities

By Jewel Graham
The 700 Club"I think it changes a culture when people move through the halls on Sunday morning and see people with all kinds of disabilities," said Executive Pastor, Mark Miller of Indian Creek Christian Church.

The Access Disabilities Ministry has become a huge part of life over the last five years at Indian Creek Christian Church.  Angela Huffman founded and voluntarily leads this ministry at “The Creek.”

"When we first started this ministry we said we were just going to meet whatever needs are here,” Angela said. “So we started off with a buddy system in our typical classroom and that went well for some kiddos. And then we started having some kiddos who maybe had autism and didn’t really do well with the loud noises or the crowds and what ended up developing from there is a Sunday school class just for kids with special needs.

The Access Ministry also provides family fun activities such as repelling, horseback riding and even an annual carnival.  The most anticipated event is Parent’s Night Out.

“That’s for kids to come and their siblings,” Angela said. “We have a great time with them. We have bounce house, pizza, crafts, all that kind of good stuff - and that gives the parents a night away.”

The Creek also provides a support group for parents and siblings of special needs’ children. All programs are open to the community as well.

“The reality is what has happened here can happen anywhere if you’ll just begin to talk in terms of how do we meet the needs of the people around us,” Pastor Mike said. “How can we take the love of Christ to them - and when you do that, people respond to it.”

Like the Browns and their seven-year-old autistic son, Jordan.

“To know that Jordan wouldn’t be left by the wayside really meant a lot,” said Jordan’s father, Don. “Its amazing to see the lack of understanding and compassion even amongst our own people and our religion of faith, and to see that here, just meant so much.”

Today, Jordan loves church, and that allows his parents and siblings to worship as well.

“It’s absolute relief when we get to come in,” said Jordan’s mother, Amy. “We know we get to worship God and know he is safe and our other children are safe.”

“And he’s getting education or some knowledge as well,” Don said, “as much as he can retain or get.”

”He likes to say amen,” Amy said. “Amen is awesome to him.”

“We know there is some interaction much more than we’ve ever seen before,” Don said.

“It started out for us as just as a place to worship God,” Amy said, “and now it’s become this huge family that we are very involved in and very much a part of and we want other people to experience what this church has done for us.”

”We would not be complete as the body of Christ if it weren’t for families with disabilities,” Pastor Mike said. “And that is true on so many levels, it’s true of race, it’s true of gender, it’s true of age. But in this case we’re just constantly reminded that its true of people who have special needs.”

Indian Creek Christian Church, you are America’s Church of the Week.

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