Recently my son took part in a Miracle League baseball team. This organization hosts baseball teams for individuals with disabilities. During these games, local high school baseball teams volunteer to participate alongside players with disabilities. During one game, two high school boys began engaging my son in a side game of catch. I was impressed by how these teen boys initiated this interaction. I was so intrigued that I asked one of them, "How did you come to be part of this league?" I was curious as to how he would respond. He said, “Our baseball coach told us about this league and gave us the opportunity to come and participate.” I was surprised by his response. I was expecting he might say something like, our coach told us we had to come but, he said he was given the OPPORTUNITY. I was impressed and my heart filled with hope. This student believed that engaging with team members with disabilities was an opportunity he had been invited into.
I am often filled with hope when I encounter people outside and inside the church who step into opportunities to move toward individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Here at University, we are given the opportunity to join the community God is building of people with and without disabilities by eating, serving, and worshipping together. A community where the typical giver and the receiver are upside down. And where we can proclaim and embody a different kingdom and priorities than what the landscape of disability is for so many.
I think the coach of the high school baseball team knew that when people without disabilities get to know people with disabilities, they start to care about each other. And he knew the teen boys would be transformed for the better because of the interaction with this special league.
The Special Needs Ministry would like to extend two opportunities where you can move toward friends with disabilities. One is a Student Game Night that will be held on June 9th at 6:30pm on North Campus in the Café. There will be games and activities for students with and without disabilities to participate in together. Secondly, we have openings for one-to-one buddies for children that need extra support to participate in VBS, June 20-23. If you would like to know more about these opportunities or others in the ministry, please reach out to Brian Rouche’, or myself at