Before I joined the staff at Woodridge, I had already heard of the incredible Special Needs Ministry here. I was excited to be a part of something so rare and to meet church leadership that prioritized special needs. As the Director and as a special needs mom, the Friends Ministry has made a tremendous impact on my life. I have been blessed to see a church that values individuals with special needs as image bearers worthy of dignity and respect. I have met volunteers that not only serve but come into class excited and full of love and enthusiasm for the students. Through meeting other parents in similar life circumstances, to getting to minister to individuals with special needs, my life has been changed in such a wonderful way. I recently asked a couple of the parents what having a Special Needs Ministry means to them. Check out how the Friends Ministry at Woodridge is making an impact!

What does the Friends Ministry mean to you?

In a word…embraced. Our son is loved, he is honored, and our family is embraced…the Friends ministry allows all of us to participate in fellowship and worship…it also gives us the ability to serve others because we know our son is well cared for. Without the Friends ministry none of that would be possible.” – Sandi Reese

The Friends Ministry means unconditional love and acceptance for our kiddos. Our son was welcomed with open arms right away and made to feel special!” – Marla Dunlap

When our oldest was a baby, my biggest prayer was God would lead us to a church where our children would long to be. Our church has been the answer to that prayer for both our typical child and our child with special needs.” – Laurie Easterling

How has the Friends Ministry impacted you or your child/teen?

Moving to Kingwood was a major life change for our family…especially our son. Finding a church home that was inclusive of him was our first priority. After visiting other churches, we knew WBC was the right fit when he smiled, participated and separated easily from us. That gave us great peace, and everything fell into place. As a special needs family there are few places we feel truly accepted and at ease. We are so thankful for our church family.” – Sandi Reese

Our son looks forward to his Friends Classes and has made lasting friendships. Without the Friends Ministry, we could not attend worship because our son cannot tolerate the worship music and becomes tearful and sad.” – Marla Dunlap

If it weren’t for Friends Ministry, we wouldn’t attend church. We wouldn’t have connections with other families. We would be more isolated than we already are as a family with a child who has special needs.” – Laurie Easterling

What would you like the church to know about special needs or your child?

How incredibly important this ministry is to families like ours. Special needs families also need to connect with other believers but too often we experience isolation. Without the support of the Friends Ministry our family and many others would not have the opportunity to participate in corporate worship, bible studies and fellowship.” – Sandi Reese

Special needs children understand our words and body language even if they are non-verbal or look or act differently.” – Marla Dunlap

What does your child/teen/adult love about Friends Ministry?

He really enjoys the fellowship, music, and his absolute favorite activity is Night to Shine.” – Sandi Reese

Our son loves being part of the Friends Ministry and having a place to belong!” – Marla Dunlap

Maggie loves being at the church, but she really loves all of our volunteers so much. She asks for them by name. We are blessed to have such amazing adults to give of themselves to this ministry.” – Laurie Easterling

Woodridge Baptist Church offers many opportunities to serve and many places to belong. The Friends Ministry’s goal is to share the love of Christ with individuals with special needs and to create a more inclusive environment for special needs families. This could not be done without the amazing support of the entire church. Thank you, Woodridge Baptist Church, for caring about the most vulnerable and supporting our Friends Ministry!

Allison Hill
Special Needs Ministry Director