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All Aboard! Special Needs Program

A picture says a thousand words. So let me paint one…

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Imagine being in a large, loud room. Many, many people surround you. But none of them look or act quite like you do. You desperately want to reach out and talk to someone. But you just can’t seem to find the words. Then it dawns on you. You can’t understand them either. Panic begins to set in. You were afraid, nervous and anxious before. But now it’s all you can do not to completely fold in on yourself.

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Anywhere—including church—can feel like this to many children with special needs. For most, their most heartfelt desire is simple: to be loved and accepted. I can’t help but be overwhelmed when I think about the compassion Jesus must feel for these little ones especially.

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 How can we be God’s love to them?

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How can we create a safe, inclusive place where everyone is welcomed and valued?

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And how can we share God’s life-changing, hope-giving Word with them in meaningful ways that they can understand?

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The answer to all of these—thankfully—is simple: we can meet them where they are. In short, we can be more like Jesus. He didn’t stay in the synagogue. Instead, Jesus ventured out where God’s love was needed most—to the hurting, the outcasts, and those who weren’t part of the “norm” or the majority.

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The Good News of Jesus and God’s love for all of us can be shared in a way that is accessible and meaningful to children with special needs—if only we’ll venture out of our norm and be willing to go where it may be unfamiliar and uncomfortable to us.

Now let’s paint another picture …

 Imagine knowing you’re different. You’re scared of not fitting in and sad because that’s all you really want: acceptance. Then you walk into a room that’s filled with games, songs and lessons that are different than you’ve experienced before. You know they’re different because they begin to make more sense to you. Suddenly, words like “God” “Jesus” and “hope” begin to have meaning because you’re not just hearing the words, you’re seeing them too. Your anxiety begins to melt away because you’re not just told you’re welcome here. You know it. You feel it.

There’s no denying it. Sharing the truths of God’s Word with children who have special needs is challenging. I know. I’m mom to a little boy who has a whole mountain of unique challenges. But we’ve got it on the greatest of authority that it only takes a mustard seed sized amount of effort. What miracles God can work in the spirits of these little children if only we’ll help by planting the seed!

All Aboard | EXPERIENCE THE STORY

OneHope’s All Aboard! curriculum helps churches take that step in faith and action by equipping them with volunteer training, adaptive and inclusive lessons and even uniquely designed words of encouragement to share with parents.

Won’t you help paint that second picture?

How to use Bible App for Kids

We’ve made it easy to help children best know how to use the Bible App for Kids using this simple guide!

  1. Download the app.

It’s free, educational and honorable.

BAK-09Search “Bible for Kids” and look for the Jesus icon in your app store.

 

  1. Encourage your child to play it OFTEN

It takes repeating information 5-7 times before it is memorized. This app is designed so players must read each story at least 3 times to receive 3 stars. In-story collectibles keep inviting players to return and experience each story multiple times.

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  1. Read the story from the Bible. Before you play the story, you can read the actual Scripture the story comes from! Just tap the Scripture highlighted above the read button.

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The Bible App automatically guides you to the Scripture referenced in the story.

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  1. Talk about the story. Questions you can ask to discuss any of the stories in the Bible App for Kids are:
  •  Who is this story about?How to BAK-04
  • Did the person in the story need or want something?
  • Did anyone in the story change?
  • What is something you learned about Jesus?
  • What were the good and bad things that happened in the story?
  • What is the meaning of this story?
  • Why is this story important?
  • How can you connect this story to your own life?

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Teach kids to share faith using Bible App For Kids

Review the conversation guides using know, grow, and show from 3 simple steps to share the Good News.

1. Engage with the Bible App for Kids together

BAKThe stories in the app provide the big picture of Scripture—how God is working from Adam and Eve through Christ’s return. (And more stories are being released all the time!) Each narrative also demonstrates how they all fit together into one Big Story so your child can grasp the thread running through the entire Bible.

God'sGoodNews-06-05-05The beginning screen for each story shows the Scripture reference. Look up these passages together in your Bible (print or digital!) Show your children how to locate the passage in the Bible, and then read the Scripture together before watching the story unfold in the app.

The more you review the Big Story of Scripture, the more your child will grow in his or her own understanding of the Gospel message. And the better they understand, the easier it will be for them to confidently share the Good News with others.

2.  Memorize Bible verses together

Jesus said the Holy Spirit would teach us and remind us of all that He said (John 14:26). One way He does this is through Scriptures we have memorized.

Tell your children about situations where you haven’t known what to say or do and how God helped you through His Word. As they begin to memorize Scripture, they will begin to experience this for themselves. Make this question a regular part of your conversations: “What verse has God used to help you this week?”

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Begin by memorizing verses that explain the Good News. Be sure to look up the verses together in your Bible or in a Bible app.

Here are some suggested verses. Write these on notecards and keep them handy for reviewing at dinner or while in the car. If you have a family dry erase board, write a verse on the board and then throughout the week erase words!

John 3:16, Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Romans 10:9-10, 2 Corinthians 5:21, John 1:12

3. Role play together

Role play conversations where you pretend to be their friends and start off a conversation by being the “friend” asking, “What app are you playing?” Ask your children questions so they can practice how to respond and make sure they are comfortable flipping between stories on their device to show what they know.

The more comfortable they are in talking about the story, the more natural and conversational it will be for them to bring up the topic with their friends.

Remind them that sharing the Big Story with their friends is as simple as a conversation—one that God through the Holy Spirit will help them begin

4. Pray together

Pray together for their friends by name. Keep a stack of notecards near the dinner table and place one friend’s name on each card. Have them write down specific requests for each friend, then pray about those together as a family regularly. Be sure to write down answers to prayer too!

Ask God to give them opportunities to share the Good News with their friends. Pray together for peace, wisdom, and courage to speak up in conversations. Remind them of Paul’s words:

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” Romans 1:16.

Above all, encourage them to remember that God is the One who will speak through them and call people to Himself. Sharing this Good News with our friends is a great joy and privilege!