Sunday, Aug. 2, will forever stand as a landmark day for the students, families, volunteers and staff connected with Shine Disabilities Ministry at Southeast Christian Church. A long-lived dream became a reality that morning as the doors to the Shine Ministry Suite at the Blankenbaker Campus officially opened for weekend worship.
For 20 years, Southeast has been committed to ministering to individuals and families impacted by disabilities. While many churches make no intentional effort in reaching the disabilities community for Christ, Southeast has forged a path through its Shine Disabilities Ministry.
In 1 Corinthians 12:20-23, the Apostle Paul gives us a glimpse at the diversity and unity that should exist in the church: “As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’ On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor.”
The opening of the Shine Ministry Suite is the next step in Southeast’s mission to equip and disciple children, students and adults with disabilities in the life and community of the church. We understand the indispensable value of everyone in our church, and it’s an honor for our team to worship God and study the Bible with the kids, teens and adults inside the Shine Suite.
As we meet together each week, we’re intentional to worship in developmentally and age-appropriate ways, so our people can hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ while also building connection and community in the church.
The classes in the Shine Suite aren’t designed to simply provide childcare, but instead serve as alternative worship spaces for children, teens and adults affected by special needs.
Our classes are adapted and more interactive, allowing each attendee to understand God’s love for them and the soul-saving power of the Gospel, and experience authentic community.
The entrance to the Shine Suite is located on the second floor of the Atrium. Our Shine Kids classes are open to students ages 11 and under, and they meet Sundays at 9 and 11:15 a.m.
For students ages 11 to 18, we offer our 2:46 Class Sundays at 9 a.m.
And teens and adults, our Miracles Class meets at 11:15 a.m. each Sunday.
No matter what age and life stage, our team wants to work with each family connected to Shine Ministry to find the best worship setting for their loved one. That may be in one of our Shine Kids classes, or it could be with a buddy inside an SE!Kids class. Perhaps it’s in our Miracles Class, or maybe it’s with friends in the HOPE Weekend Group.
Wherever it is, we’re thankful and blessed as a church and as a ministry to have a space like the Shine Suite where we can offer multiple opportunities for our friends to worship together each week.
As our students worship together in a sensory-friendly setting, we’re also allowing their parents and caregivers to worship with more focus and connection with God while knowing their loved ones are in a safe and adapted space where teaching the Gospel and Christ-centered community are priorities. The day-to-day demands of life for a parent or caregiver takes a significant toll on their physical, mental and spiritual well-being. As a team, we understand and embrace the reality that we’re ministering not only to those inside the Shine Suite, but also to the parents and caregivers who pour themselves into the lives of their loved ones each day.
We believe God has given each of us unique abilities and talents for His glory and our good. As a ministry team, we strive to empower individuals with disabilities to know and love Jesus and others with their unique abilities. We’re thankful for God’s provision and timing in making the Shine Suite a reality and providing more ways for our church to share the Gospel and worship together.
If you want to learn more about weekend worship classes inside the Shine Suite, or if you’re interested in learning how to serve with Shine Ministry, email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Garett Wall is an associate in Southeast’s Shine Disabilities Ministry.