Every Child Welcome
Posted on February 23, 2016
If you are looking for a reader friendly, comprehensive and practical approach to welcoming children with special needs, Every Child Welcome is ground zero for your ministry. This collaboration between two of the most beautiful people I know, Katie Wetherbee and Joline Philo, puts their years of experience into language and practice that is achievable for organizations of any size and budget.
Cleverly written in a “cookbook” or menu planning style, the goal of Every Child Welcome is to equip volunteers to meet the needs of the students they encounter every week through quality teaching and positive interactions. The heart of the authors is very much captured in A Prayer for Compassion, from Chapter Four:
Jesus, be in this place. Let your compassion and kindness permeate every activity planned. Give me the ability to model compassion, patience, and love. Open the hearts of the children present, so the can sense Your love for them, so they can know that they belong to You. Make them feel welcome so they will return and learn about You time after time. (54)
Beginning with clever ideas on “Setting the Table” in ways that prepare you to welcome families affected by disability into the halls of your church, Philo and Wetherbee leave no ingredient out of the recipe for creating a welcoming environment. Their chapter on “Appetizers” is full of activities and ideas to whet the appetites of your learners from the first moment they enter the room.
Chapters Four and Five contain so many significant strategies for welcoming every child to enjoy the “Main Dishes: Teaching the Truths of the Bible,” that you will leave this table full of knowledge and more than equipped to try (and even encouraged to try again) to meet the challenges of you diverse learners. The expertise shared in these two chapters alone is worth 3 times the cost of this book!
Ever the well-rounded resource, Every Child Welcome also includes “Side Dishes” to enhance the strategies already mentioned, as well as “Party Time Ideas: Ideas for Holidays and Holy Days.” And don’t miss the vital information about communicating with parents and volunteers in the chapter entitled “Washing Up.” If all of this wasn’t enough, the Resource listing and Appendices are valuable ingredients you’ll never leave out of your ministry again.
No matter your stage of ministry, this book is a welcome and refreshing addition to your library. If you are just beginning, it holds invaluable and key ingredients to welcoming every child in the name of Christ. And even if you are a seasoned veteran of special needs ministry, this volume will encourage and revive your enthusiasm with many simple, unchanging principles that will leave you satisfied.