By Richard Haas
It seems that Elevation Church in North Carolina is back is the news again and this time it's not for a praise report or some great community outreach the have done to try to push their Pastor, Steven Furtick's social Gospel message. Instead it for something much less praise worthy, the neglecting of the right to worship with others on Easter Sunday for a child named Jackson with Sarah palsy. As you can see in the video we made that Jackson and his mother are pretty distressed about the whole affair and the response they received from Elevation church. Jackson's mother even offered up help to start a ministry for special needs children, but was turned down.
Sadly this response from Elevation church is quite normal from mega-church alike today. It seems that the love for the brotherhood among believers is growing cold now a days. Would Christ have turned away the sick, the needy or a special needs child? I think we know the answer to this; it's written all throughout Christ's time on earth. He would have not turned away those who are seeking Him. It seems that in a world where there is a mega church popping up on every corner there seems to be no love found in the doors of these churches for families of special needs children or the children themselves. As in true formfitting fashion and tailor designed from the Peter Drucker, Rick Warren, Purpose Driven Church style worship centers with their business model molded agendas there you will find less and less of Christ or the love of Christ within these buildings.
It seems that at Elevation Church speacial needs children and their families don't fit inside "The Code." (This is the core values of Elevation Church.) It also seems that this mistreatment of the mother and her child goes against the very mission statement of Elevation Church; "so that people far from God will be raised to life in Christ." One should ask themselves is the family any closer to God or farther from God and being raised to life in Christ after this treatment by this church?
Speaking from my own personal experiences of 17 plus years. Being a father of a special needs child and dealing with churches here and abroad I can say that what this mother experienced at Elevation Church is sadly the normative response of your local mega church. In the scenario of the structure of the modern church "special needs" child and their families have been left outside the church doors looking inward upon the "normal" people with their "normal" child. My heart aches for this mother knowing what she feels for my own wife at several churches that we have attended has offered to help start a special needs ministry but was met with the same answer that Jackson's mom was given, a resounding NO! Which is often the message both my wife and I would receive from our own visited churches.
Sadly these churches are missing out on one of the great opportunities given to them, to as minister to the ones that need it the most. Do these child not need to hear about Christ and what He did for them? Even more sad is that while these churches are running around worrying about the next big mission, or event to change their community, or how they can fill up their seats with more seeks they are missing out the main picture; showing the love of Jesus Christ to those already in their church.
It is about time that churches like Elevation realize that people with special needs both children and adults alike are people too and have the right to hear and need to hear about Christ. Elevation church and churches of its kind remind me of the priest found in Luke 10:25 in The Parable of the Good Samaritan. They are to busy to help so he just passes on by. In a modern day scenario ( I know I am reading ourselves into the story here, a big no no. Bare with me to illustrate a point.) of this story we could say the church would be the priest pasting by a special-needs child instead of the priest pasting by the young man who had been robbed. Here today the church (priest) is too busy to help the special need child.
As we look onward the Levite would be replaced by the members of that church. They to pass on by that special-needs child just as the church/priest did. The only question is who is going to be these child's good Samaritan? Will YOU?
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