New Book, Leading a Special Needs Ministry, by Amy Fenton Lee to Release April 24 (Book Review)

By Tercius

Releasing April 24, Leading a Special Needs Ministry: A Practical Guide to Including Children and Loving Families, by Amy Fenton Lee will be a much-needed addition to the growing world of special needs ministry. According to a 2013 report released by the CDC, an estimated 1 in 50 children receive a diagnosis on the autism spectrum. Churches are beginning to see the prevalence in their own ministries, but answers, resources and assistance are scarce. This new book will provide one solution.

Amy’s book serves as a practical “how-to” handbook for the family ministry team working to welcome one or 100 children with special needs. Easily referenced guidance is offered for talking to parents who are learning their child has a diagnosis. It will also give you all the tools to develop programs, write policies and educate volunteers working with children with disabilities. Example ministry documents are provided throughout this resource guide as well.

Sections included are: Loving Family Through the Diagnosis; Special Needs Statistics, Terms, Laws and Trends; Establishing a Mission for the Special Needs Ministry; Developing an Accommodation Plan for the Child with Special Needs; The Special Needs Ministry Leader; Volunteers: Leading, Recruiting, Training and Creating Community; Behavior and Participant Safety; and FAQs.

“Every congregation of every size should have this resource. They need it because there is no other resource that brings such experience, wisdom, and compassion to the blessings and challenges of welcoming every child and family to be a part of the community of faith. For every issue about special needs—from knowing how to express care for parents who are learning that their child has special needs all the way to developing programs, policies and education for volunteers working with children with special needs—this practical resource will be referenced often. I am ordering it for my church, and I am putting it on my students’ family ministry reading list.” — Diana Garland, Dean, Baylor University School of Social Work, Editor, Journal of Family and Community Ministries

The book will make its official debut at this year’s Orange Conference, April 24-26, in Atlanta, Georgia. The event is one of the most important family ministry team events happening today, and will draw together over 5,500 key influences—senior, student, children’s and preschool leaders—to discover new strategies for sharing God’s truth with the next generation. One full track will be devoted special needs ministry and be led by Amy Fenton Lee. Other guest speakers include: Denise Briley, Meaghan Wall, Stacy Hodge, Wendi Akers and Katie Garvert. Topics to be discussed are: Creating a Special Needs Ministry Space on a Limited Budget; Including Teens and Pre-Teens with Special Needs Supporting the Family Impacted by Special Needs; How To Use Technology in a Special Needs Setting Making Bible Stories Come Alive for Special Needs; Creating Opportunities for Special Needs Volunteers; Encouragement Events for Special Needs Ministry; and Special Needs FAQ's. A special networking gathering for special needs ministry leaders and volunteers will also be held Thursday night of the conference.

Leading a Special Needs Ministry retails for $18.99, and will be available for purchase beginning April 24 at It will be available for the sale price of $15.99 at The Orange Conference, April 24-26, in Atlanta. For more information on the conference, please visit This book is also a great companion resource to Surviving to Thriving: Successfully Including the Child with Special Needs, a DVD resource released last year by Amy Fenton Lee aimed to equip volunteers with tips and tactics for keeping the most challenging child engaged.

About the Author:

Amy Fenton Lee is the special needs consultant to The reThink Group, Inc. Amy has written extensively on the subject of special needs inclusion in children's ministry environments and has been published in dozens of in-print publications, journals, and on the web, including her own blog,

About Orange:

Orange is a division of The reThink Group, a nonprofit organization providing resources and training to help churches maximize their influence on the spiritual growth of the next generation. For more information on Orange, please visit

Additional Endorsements:

“This is a comprehensive guide to ministering to families touched by special needs! Amy has done an exceptional job of providing clear and concise guidelines on what to say and what not to say to hurting families. This book is a MUST READ!” — Wendi Akers, Special Needs Ministry Leader, Lake Pointe Church (Rockwall, TX), Mother of an adult on the spectrum

“This is a remarkable, much needed book. It is a comprehensive, insightful tool for all special needs ministry leaders. The practical, workable tools, methods, and sample forms are a massive help and time-saver, especially for budding new ministries. Sometimes the challenges of special needs ministry are perplexing. This book addresses even the hard topics and provides carefully considered suggestions and solutions. Thank you, Amy, for the time and heart you have put into this good and God-honoring work. It is my new go-to manual. I wish I would have had this resource years ago.”— Brenda Fischer, Coordinator for Disability Ministry, Bethlehem Baptist Church (Minneapolis, MN)

“As a parent of a child with special needs, and a children’s pastor, I hope that all who serve the next generation will read and learn from this book.” — Kristy Moser, Early Childhood Pastor, Montgomery Community Church (Cincinnati, OH)