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Break Out Sessions 3

4 Appropriate Environments for Special Needs Ministry

Led by: Jillian Palmiotto

In this presentation, Jillian will present various models of disability ministry to help you navigate the least restrictive environments that your church or school can adopt as a model to meet everyone's needs. Discover the right environment to begin or to expand your ministry. Discover which model is right for the culture of your church - modified small group, inclusion model, house church/homeschool, or family service. There's a model for every church or school to begin somewhere!   

Is Your

Church Accessible?

Led by: Stephen Taylor

Did you know that because of our separation of church and state laws, all faith communities are exempt from having to abide by the Americans with Disabilities Act laws? But that doesn't exempt us from Jesus' expectation of making it possible for everyone to attend a house of worship. Learn how to experience a worship service through the lens of a person with a disability to see if your place of worship is accessible to everyone. 

Programming for

Adults with Disabilities

Led by: Jeff Jansma

When creating specialized ministry and instruction for kids with special needs, we often forget that they don't stop growing up! This presentation will help you define what you want to offer to your adult disability community including programming for weekly bible study, social events, and community respite. You will learn about local resources, ideas, programs, and the philosophy of Special Needs and Disability Ministries.

Finding and Keeping

the Best Volunteers

Led by: Lynn Wilkerson

So you've decided to begin a disability inclusion ministry but you're not sure how to recruit the volunteers to help you? Join Lynn as she shares creative ideas for recruiting, training, and ministering to your volunteer team. You can't do this without them!


Remarkable Journey

Led by: David and Jordan White

This presentation will be a synopsis of Jordan's journey from pre-school to where he is today. It will focus on the obstacles autistic people and their parents still face in our society, and how schools and churches can stop being part of the problem and become part of the solution. Learn about obstacles that are created by church and school systems that prevent people with disabilities and their parents from becoming all that God has created them to be.  

Inclusion in

Youth Ministry

Led by: Ken Chatham

The adolescent stage of life presents a unique set of social and emotional circumstances. Kids are awkward, they are trying to discover their identity, and they have difficulty socializing in our technology-driven society. This presentation will help you learn ways to navigate disability inclusion in youth ministry and understand how to collaborate with the special needs ministry team to provide an inclusive worship experience and opportunities for teens with disabilities to have a leadership role in youth ministry. 

The Other 99 Sheep -

A Sibling's Perspective

Led by: Dan Hartranft

Learn the perspective of a sibling of someone with Autism and how you can be intentional about serving them too. Dan, the middle child of 3 sons, shares from his heart the impact of being a sibling of a child on the autism spectrum. Handling his own diagnosis of dyslexia while processing his feelings of frustration at the impact of his and Ben’s diagnosis on the family and how he felt the need to be more responsible to prevent additional stress on the family. This is a feeling all too commonly self-imposed by siblings. While on the other side of the coin Dan is vocal about the blessing Ben has had in his life. Ben sets a Christ-like example, treating everyone he meets like the most important person in the world. “Ben has had a hand in so many life lessons for me, some intentional and many were subconscious. I help Ben to understand social lessons while he teaches me how to live a happy life.” Join Dan as he talks about all these things and more.


Myth Busters

Led by: Ryan Wolfe

What are the lies that are stopping people with disabilities from finding meaningful places of belonging in your congregation? Can you identify the myths that society believes about disability? These myths may have even leaked into the church! These lies or myths about disabilities must be busted! We can help. Come and be a part of busting 15 different disability myths. Also, find out how you can use this resource for volunteer training or disability awareness in your congregation today!


Buddy Training

Led by: Elizabeth Barnett

This workshop is geared toward any volunteer who might work with an individual with special needs from birth through adulthood in a ministry setting. You will learn general considerations for individuals with special needs that will allow you to be successful in working with them. We will also give you a toolbox filled with crisis prevention techniques and walk you through several real-life scenarios to help you feel confident and prepared to handle any situation that may arise in a special needs setting. You can easily take this back home and train your volunteers as well.

Learning to

Love Your Story

Led by: Abigail Burle

When the world is telling you that your story is full of tragedy and grief, how do you learn to rewrite your story? How do you learn to believe that God is good in the heartache? We believe it starts with knowing God, ourselves, and others. When these things are woven together we can move towards Loving Your Story. 

Pursuing Your

Pool of Bethesda

Led by: Katie Matthews and Allie McCarty

It takes more than an accessible building to include people with disabilities. It requires pursuit! In this breakout, you will learn how to identify and engage your local disability communities. We will discuss the tools and steps essential to pursuing your church’s Pools of Bethesda.

Read About Our Fabulous Speakers!

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Lynn Wilkerson, Special Needs Minister at

Johnson Ferry Baptist Church

Lynn Wilkerson is the Special Needs Minister at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, GA where she has served for 7 years. The Shine Ministry includes individuals from preschool through adults. Lynn passionately believes everyone should have the privilege of hearing the gospel and being discipled. Lynn is happily married to her husband Thomas and they have two children,  Emily, a freshman at UGA this year, and Isaac, a sophomore in high school. Isaac is Lynn's inspiration for leading The Shine Ministry because he is on the autism spectrum.

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