Faithful Friends and Faithful Friends, Jr.
A Glimpse into Parkside’s Special Needs Ministry
Over 25 years ago, Parkside began a ministry to two teenagers with special needs when two adults began meeting with the teens in the staff kitchen of Parkside’s offices. From that small beginning, a ministry now known as Faithful Friends became a reality. Fifteen years later, in 2007, Parkside Church prayerfully began Faithful Friends, Jr. to meet the needs of families with children who have special needs. In both groups, what began in small ways has grown to minister to over 50 families.
The purpose of the Special Needs ministry is the same as that of Parkside Church—to see unbelieving people become committed followers of Jesus Christ. The ways in which we seek to do this are based upon the unique strengths and needs of the adults and children in the ministry. In both classes, participants sing, color, laugh, read God’s Word, and pray together in a loving environment that points every person to the Lord Jesus Christ.
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Matthew 18:20
The Faithful Friends adult class has been led by Tracy and Rick Reid for over 15 years. The group meets on Sundays during the 9:45am service in room A117. It has over 25 people who regularly attend, with five to eight volunteers who have committed to serving with the group. The group enjoys biblical fellowship, prayer time and music, Scripture memorization, and learning from God’s Word in a relaxing environment. The friendships formed in this class are deep and lasting, and every person looks forward to coming weekly. The group also meets a couple times a year for special events like game nights or an annual summer BBQ.
Faithful Friends, Jr.
“Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’” Matthew 19:14
With the expansion of the Children’s Wing in 2014, Faithful Friends, Jr., was able to set down roots in room A115. This space allows the ministry to care for children in a safe and functional environment with volunteers who seek to structure care around the unique needs of each child. Since the inception of Faithful Friends, Jr., Jim and Charlene Croyts have led this group and seen it grow from three children to over 20 children and teens who now participate regularly. Our desire is that when each child arrives, he or she will have a “friend” who specifically cares for and focuses on that child. Between the 9:45am & 11:15am services, the class usually has about 13-16 children in attendance. With each child having a one-on-one helper, this is a busy class indeed, and many hands are needed to care for the children well.
Almost weekly, the church office receives requests for information about Parkside’s Special Needs ministry. Word is spreading in the local community, and Parkside Church continues to ask the Lord to give us wisdom in how to best minister to the many families who have individuals with special needs. As our Special Needs ministry blooms with new families, we have a growing need for more volunteers on Sunday mornings, particularly for our children and teens. For these families, the love of Jesus Christ demonstrated through our care and understanding of their circumstances is a true opportunity for the gospel.
Will you consider joining our team this year?
We are praying that God would provide 10 volunteers for our most immediate need in Faithful Friends, Jr. Experience working in special needs is not required, although it is a plus. On-the-job-training is provided. If you have questions, please contact Julie.
Or, sign up to serve here >