SHINE Special Needs Ministry

Children with special needs are a special part of our church family. They SHINE! 

SHINE is a ministry that provides children with disabilities or other needs with a 1:1 buddy. Our mission is to support families by loving and guiding children and youth with disabilities in a safe and appropriate environment to learn and grow in their faith and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Our SHINE Ministry serves children in Kidstown and Student Ministries at the Lexington campus.

What is the process to get a 1:1 buddy?

We know that every child who needs a buddy is valuable, worthy, and uniquely made. Finding the right buddy for every SHINE child takes care and attention to the needs of your child - but also the needs of other children already in the SHINE program, and the volunteers currently on our SHINE team. 

To get started, use the contact form below to let us know you're interested in SHINE. We'll send you a SHINE Family Questionnaire; once it's submitted, we'll review the information and follow up as quickly as possible to learn more about your child’s needs by phone, in person, or through email.

NEXT STEPS, Depending on the level of support required:
  • An invitation for parent participation in SHINE with your child for an ‘observation Sunday’
  • An invitation to worship that is most accessible to you as we work towards a right buddy fit for your child: Sanctuary, courtyard, Family Connect space, or Livestream from home
  • A decision about placement – Kidstown Full Inclusion w/ 1:1, Kidstown partial inclusion w/ 1:1, or full 1:1
  • Volunteer team is updated, search and identify appropriate 1:1 buddy support
  • A start date on Sunday is set to make introductions and assist your child as they get to know their new buddy (length is contingent on comfort level of child, volunteer, and parent)
  • The first Sunday your child attends SHINE with 1:1 support
  • Feedback and follow up

Please allow time for our team to place your child with a buddy, and make yourself available for communication. Your SHINE Director may be working with multiple families at a time, and this process requires the cooperation and assistance of parents! We do our best to provide consistency and stability with volunteer support for your family in the long run.


How long will I have to wait for a buddy?

The time varies but the average wait time for a buddy is 2-3 weeks. During this time, we will gather information about your child using a SHINE Family Questionnaire. We may ask you to have a phone call, attend SHINE with your child, or have a meeting or 2 with your child’s buddy on Sunday morning in order to help us get to know and find the best fit for your child.

Does SHINE offer buddies for both  the 9:15am & 11am services?

We try to be as flexible as possible and work hard to accommodate everyone. However, we are a volunteer-driven program that serves over 30 families and 50 volunteers with variable needs. We may not be able to accommodate a request to have a buddy at a specific service.

Can SHINE support all children who request 1:1 support?

No. SHINE may not be able to provide support to a child for the following reasons:

  • Child is consistently presenting with behaviors that could compromise safety, including harm to themselves or others
  • Level of support required does not match our volunteer skill set
  • Child is able to be fully included in the regular Kidstown programming

What special events are there for SHINE kids and families?

SHINE is a ministry of Kidstown and so SHINE families and kids are invited as equal participants in all the special events that Kidstown offers, this includes but is not limited to: Move Up Sunday, Friday Night FX, Child Dedications, Bible Presentations, and Kids Week. We encourage SHINE families to follow the Kidstown Calendar for a list of special events. While we do not offer 1:1 buddies for these programs, we are committed to accessibility and ask you to contact us for any special assistance needs:

SHINE: Contact Us

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