In 2015, my husband and I moved from rural Pennsylvania and left a church we loved to do something risky—plant a new church in suburban Texas. Our vision for the church was to welcome people with disabilities. We see special-needs families as an unreached people group, since so many don’t attend church on a regular basis.
Before Lee and I even started our ministry, we partnered with a nearby congregation, got involved in the community, and did outreach events to meet special-needs families. But when it came time to start our church with a weekly Bible study, only a few families had committed to coming with us.
Most weeks we had nine adults, four kids under ten years old (three with special needs), and nine older kids (four with special needs). We loved being together, but we weren’t a self-sustaining church body. My husband worked two jobs in addition to church planting, and I worked three part-time jobs from home. After two years of funding from our supporting church, the local association of churches, and our state denomination, we had to close Journey Church and relinquish our dream.
Very few of us are living our Plan A scenario, whether in our professional or personal lives. Years before our failed church plant, my husband and I heard a psychologist utter words we never wanted to hear: “We believe your son has autism.” In 1977, my parents’ future was upended, too, when they were told that my newborn sister had Down syndrome. All of us sooner or later experience hardships that irrevocably shape our lives.
Although each story is different, Scripture offers us the same enduring truth: Every detour involves God’s presence, purpose, and redeeming power. In other words, our Plan B is still ...1
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