Category Archives: Service

15 Things You Can Do to Serve a Special Needs Family

15 Things You Can do to Serve a Special Needs Family | #R1616

Imagine, if you will, the joy that comes when a mom and dad find out that they are expecting a new child. Whether through pregnancy and birth or through the joy of adoption, the joy of such a blessing is overwhelming. Beyond measure, a true thrill to the heart.

Now imagine, if you will, that soon after learning of the impending child, they also learn that there may be a problem, whether physical, mental or developmental. How do you imagine, that feels? Could it be a mixture of both joy and pain? Is it perhaps sorrow and elation that joins together leaving confusion in the soul? Do you perceive that their could be worry, wonder and amazement?

Also imagine what the day of delivery might be like.

Parenting is joyous, but also challenging even for children born with no special need. Now consider the difficulties which may lie ahead for a parent with a special needs child. It will look different for each family. There most likely will be financial struggles, emotional struggles, and feelings of isolation. The realities of what the family is facing can put a strain on the marriage, a strain that far too often leads to separation or divorce.

The feelings can be overwhelming and the work that follows surely is so. From doctors appointments, special need therapies such as speech, occupational, fine and gross motor development, to vision care. Perhaps something as simple as feeding the child takes on a whole new meaning when parents are learning how to tube feed or faces a lifetime of diaper changes.

The idea that no one understands is certainly understandable. The idea that none helps, is, well, it’s sad beyond measure, especially for those who are members of the Lord’s body.

We are called to love one another, John 13:34-35.  We are called to do unto others, Luke 6:31. We are called to show compassion, kindness, and longsuffering, Colossians 3:12. We are to bear one another’s burdens thus, fulfilling the law of Christ, Galatians 6:2.

If there are those among us who are feeling isolated, cast off, and without help or care, then we are failing to uphold the body of Christ, we are failing to fulfill the law of Christ.

“…Inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of these least, ye did it not unto me.” Matthew 25:45 ASV

We must look past our own comfort and see to the needs and hearts of others. No special need parent in the Lord’s church should ever feel as if they have no help, no one to care, or that they aren’t needed, or a part of the Lord’s body.

But, often, too often, this is the case. Why? Most likely it is because we don’t know what to do. We don’t know how to help or what is needed. But, that is simply an excuse because we must step outside of our own comforts and ask, show love, compassion and a listening ear, both to the parents and the child.

15 Ways to Help a Special Needs Family

  1. Offer a listening ear. It may take some time before you will find they are willing to open up. It might seem as if they don’t want your listening ear. But, it’s just because of the hurt involved. Ask, how things are going, offer to pray for, or about a specific situation. Build up a friendship over time that instills in their heart that you are offering because YOU CARE, not out of duty.
  2. Ask your sister over for coffee, or a dessert or anything that let’s her have a moment away. She may say no, but keep offering, keep asking.
  3. Call her up and say, “I’m bringing over dinner for your family tonight.” Don’t take no for an answer. Simply say, I know that you are busy and life can be extremely hectic for you. Please, let me help.
  4. Offer childcare. With all of the appointments a special needs family must undertake, sometimes it’s difficult to find childcare of the other children in the family, yet it’s hard to take them all along to appointments. Be ready, willing and able to provide for this need. Offer the option, repeat often until she trusts that you mean it.
  5. Make appropriate accommodations for the special needs child in Bible Classes. First, you need to ask the parent what IS appropriate, and you need to understand that it might not be the easiest solution. THEY know their child best and a congregation that is insistent on doing it their way is not going to go far in making the family feel welcome within the body.
  6. Organize disability Sensitivity Training within the congregation. This can go a long way in helping a family see that they are welcome, and that you want them to be surrounded by compassionate members.
  7. Offer Encouraging Words. With isolation comes the feeling of being under a microscope. A special needs mom can feel as if they are always being watched to see how they handle difficult situations. But you can be an encouragement to her. Tell her she’s doing a great job, or that you admire her ability to multitask. Let the law of kindness always be on your lips, Proverbs 3:26.
  8. Offer to do laundry. Just taking home 1 or 2 loads a week can dramatically ease the burden for these overly burdened homemakers.
  9. Invite her and the kids over for a playdate. You would be incredibly surprised to discover how few times this happens, don’t overlook this family when planning events for the children in the congregation.
  10. Invite her to Gatherings. Don’t overlook this mom when you gather with other friends. Even if she isn’t able to be there, she needs to know she is welcome, that you WANT her to join you. Be understanding if she can’t make it, and be welcoming when she makes arrangements to make it.
  11. Offer to Learn How to Take Care of Her Child. It might be scary to offer to learn how tube feed a child. But imagine what it was like for her the first time, and she had no choice. She also may NEVER have a chance to spend time alone with her husband because no one is willing to help her in this matter. Learning this task, or others like it, can then allow you to provide her with respite care, date nights, her own doctors appointments, or perhaps just the ability to sit down during a fellowship meal and eat.
  12. Surprise her! Make arrangements with her husband, or her mom, then take her out for a dinner, or pedicure, or a shopping trip to buy her a little something special, a scarf of earrings. Let it be your treat.
  13. Offer to Take the Kids for a Weekend. She needs sleep, a shower, and time alone with her husband. See #11.
  14. Simply Ask How She Is. You’d be so surprised to find that she is rarely, if ever, asked about her own needs.
  15. Last, but not least, Be Her Friend. Truly, be a friend to her. She probably doesn’t have a single one. They probably abandoned her shortly after her child came into her family. Don’t do this out of duty, but out of a heart that truly loves your sister in the Lord. Jesus Christ was compassionate, Matthew 14:14, we too should have a heart of compassion for those who are in need.

“And one of the multitude answered him, Teacher, I brought unto thee my son, who hath a dumb spirit; and wheresoever it taketh him, it dasheth him down: and he foameth, and grindeth his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast it out; and they were not able. he answereth them and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I bear with you? bring him unto me. And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him grievously; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. And he asked his father, How long time is it since this hath come unto him? And he said, From a child And oft-times it hath cast him both into the fire and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us. And Jesus said unto him, If thou canst! All things are possible to him that believeth. Straightway the father of the child cried out, and said, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. And when Jesus saw that a multitude came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I command thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. And having cried out, and torn him much, he came out: and the boy became as one dead; insomuch that the more part said, He is dead. But Jesus took him by the hand, and raised him up; and he arose.”  Mark 9:17-27 ASV.

While we can’t offer physical healing to our brothers and sisters in Christ for their child. We can offer them compassion, love, and kindness which can heal broken hearts, thus fulfilling the law of Christ.

Resources for Families with Special Needs

This post written by Team Member: Renée


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R16:16 is ReGrouping

Regrouping R1616

We haven’t been very active on the R16:16 blog for a few months now. Mostly this is due to the busy lives the team members have had. But our Administrator, Sharla Orren and Blog Director, Renee Brown, have been working behind the scenes to see if we can remedy this issue. We are regrouping a bit to focus more on the purpose of our site, to provide a directory or internet sites owned by members of the church and to be an encouragement to our brothers and sisters in the Lord and to highlight the blogs, businesses and websites that are listed in our directory.

With this in mind we are refocusing the blog a bit. Rather than having a monthly theme surrounding our blog posts, we will be organizing a schedule of regular blog series. It will be through these series that we will be able to focus on specific individuals in the Lord’s body, bring focus to those who write about or provide services for those individuals. Our goal always, is to encourage and support each other in the body.

If you are an R16:16 blogger, business owner or member of the Lord’s church and would like to know more about or be willing to contribute to the regular set of blog series that we are planning, please watch your emails for further details. Or you can email us at


Posted by on September 3, 2014 in Encouragement, Service



Serving Even When We Don’t Like It

To Obey is Better than Sacrifice

Service in the Church

How often do we choose which service we want to be involved in? We claim our gift lies in certain areas therefore we don’t have to help in other areas. But is that true? Or is that a selfish way of interpreting scripture? Consider this:

1 Samuel 15:22,23

“So Samuel said:

“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
He also has rejected you from being king.” “

This is what the Lord through Samuel said to King Saul following his outright disobedience to God’s command. You see, Saul thought that he knew what was better than God regarding the destruction of the Amalekites. He thought he could save the good animals and King Agag. He said it was to offer sacrifice to God. But Samuel explained that to obey is better than sacrifice.

Perhaps you don’t see the connection. Maybe your thinking, ‘What does my sacrifice have to do with serving?’ Serving when we don’t want to, or don’t like to, or don’t agree with decisions, is a sacrifice on our part. It requires sacrificing our own desires, wants and opinions for the purpose of being obedient. You see God desires that we be obedient to Him. He wants us to follow the leaders that He has placed over us, whether it be our elders, deacons or for wives, husbands. If we choose to not be obedient we are choosing to lay aside our sacrifice in exchange for our selfish desires. 

But does God even want our sacrifice in the New Testament church that He established? The answer to that is yes. 

Romans 12:1

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”

So it’s easier said, than done, isn’t it? Presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice, giving up oneself for the greater good of others, or even because we are asked to by those in authority over us isn’t always easy, but if we want hearts that are obedient to God we will do just that.

Melissa from Maidservants of Christ tells about one of those times. Please click See More to read the entire article.

The Other Side of Service

written by Melissa at Maidservants of Christ

I loathe Vacation Bible School.  I have lots of reasons, some valid, some trivial.  I think it is a relic of a bygone era that doesn’t meet the evangelistic needs of the Church today.  I think cookies and Kool-aid at eight in the evening is a really bad idea, especially since many kids are already up past their bedtime.  Loud silly songs grate on my nerves and don’t seem to serve any educational purpose.  If I had my way, we would find some other way to reach the children in our neighborhoods for Christ.  So last year, I helped prepare for VBS and taught one of the classes.


Yes, I cheerfully got involved in an effort I don’t really believe in.  Why?  Because the leadership in my congregation had decided that VBS was worth doing, and the organizers needed help.  Sometimes being a servant means doing what you are asked to do whether you want to do it or not.

– See more at: Maidservants of Christ

If we fail to lay aside our selves, we are choosing to be disobedient to God. Yes, there are some who have specific gifts such as teaching, or encouraging, but that doesn’t mean we can stop serving simply because we don’t have a talent. Rather, we must use the talents we do have for the encouragement of the entire body. We must serve even when the service isn’t what we want to do. Why? Because God desires your obedience and in doing so, you present your sacrifice to the Father. 

Melissa lives in Tennessee and is the mother of 3 children. She and her co-blogger Helene blog regularly at Maidservants of Christ. Their goal is to speak the truth in love to those who read their blog. They aren’t afraid to tackle the tough stuff but do so with compassion and love. While your visiting be sure to hit the subscribe button to get encouragement directly in your inbox.

~This article written by team member Renee Brown.


Posted by on January 27, 2014 in Christian, Encouragement, Faithfulness, Service


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Making the Little Things Count

Serving with Humility

Serving with Humility

If charged with the task of describing Christianity, what would your definition be? Let’s make this task a little more challenging. You must paint a mental picture of a Christian to someone who is unfamiliar with Christianity. While we are at it, let’s raise the level of difficulty even higher. You can only use one word. I believe that our one word answer can be found in Philippians 2:5-8.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, Who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,even death on a cross.” 

The word servant epitomizes our Savior and should perfectly illustrate the Christian attitude and life.

Just how important is our service in the Lord’s church? Jesus answered this question Himself in Matthew 20: 26:28,

“But whoever would be great among you must be your servant and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” The word “must” evidences the fact that being a servant is imperative to being acceptable in His kingdom.

This directive may seem overwhelming at times, especially for women in the Lord’s church. We understand we are to be submissive.

1 Tim. 2:11-15

“Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.”

We, therefore, cannot serve in what might be considered the “big jobs” in the kingdom. We are not authorized to offer our servitude in the capacity of minister, elder, or deacon. We often feel relegated to the “small jobs” that “women can do”. These areas of service may even bear the connotation of being nonessential and of little value in the kingdom, at least in our minds. Because of this thought process, many good works may go undone, many needs may go unmet, and therefore, many souls may remain unreached. We must look at the “small jobs” the way Jesus did.

Matt. 25:35-40

 For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?  When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’  And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’”

Many times it is the little acts of kindness that make the biggest impact. In the book of Acts, we are given a wonderful example of a woman who served in what might be considered a small capacity but with enormous significance.

Are you serving with humility?

Acts 9:35-40

“Now there was in Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity.  In those days she became ill and died, and when they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room.  Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him, urging him, “Please come to us without delay.”  So Peter rose and went with them. And when he arrived, they took him to the upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping and showing tunics and other garments that Dorcas made while she was with them. But Peter put them all outside, and knelt down and prayed; and turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. And he gave her his hand and raised her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.”

Dorcas was “full of good works and acts of charity”. We do not know what all the good works were but we do know one of them. She made garments and tunics for the widows in Joppa. These very same widows were so touched by Dorcas’ service that they could not contain their grief when she died. They also proudly displayed, for all to see, the wonderful labor of Dorcas’ own hands. Had Dorcas considered sewing a menial task unworthy of being used as an outreach to others, many in Joppa may not have been given the opportunity to witness the miracle of her being presented alive from the dead. In turn, the “many that believed in the Lord”, might have remained unbelievers.

You see, so many times, it really is the “little things” that count. In fact, we can clearly see that in the kingdom of God there are no little works. There are only different jobs for the different members. “If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?  But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.  

1 Cor. 12:17-20

If all were a single member, where would the body be?  As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.”

Visiting those shut in, sending a card to someone ill, calling someone in bereavement, cleaning the church building, and even sewing garments may appear on the surface to be “little things”. However, in reality, they all add up to “big things”.

Vincent Van Gough said,

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”

Christians must not shy away from the “small jobs”. We must take hold of every service opportunity and humble ourselves as servants because “He humbled himself.” 

*all scripture taken from ESV.

quote taken from,

photo courtesy of Asai Chū [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Shanna Mathis Anderson is the wife of John who is the minister for Zion church of Christ in Middle Tennessee. She is the mom of Titus, Elijah, Norah, and Levi and has educated them at home for the past twelve years. Shanna is a member of the R16:16 team and recently started her own blog She enjoys reading, writing, and working with pre-teen and teen girls in the Lord’s church.


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Undeserved Service

When Service Looks Unimaginable

unimaginable Service

Our roles in the body are complex. We have many parts to play. Learning to prioritize our roles can sometimes be a daunting task. But, perhaps, only because we make it so.

1 Corinthians 14:33, NKJV

“For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints”.

If we simply obey His word, put first things first and follow where He leads, we can’t go wrong.

We are called to be obedient to Christ, to worship our Father through Christ, to honor our roles in our families. Husbands are to be the head of the wife in love, wives as submissive to husbands, loving our children and being keepers of the home. Within the church we are to be submissive to our elders, working with our deacons, hospitable, loving and kind in fellowship within the body. In the world we are called to be lights of Christs love to others speaking truth in love.

For some the call to serve is in the mission field, for others it is in the local congregation and still for others it remains in the home training up children for their future service of the King. But, what if the place you are called to doesn’t at all look like what you imagined it would look like?

Lisa Smith from the blog Quirks and Chaos shares her thoughts on service when it doesn’t look like what you may have thought it would. Be sure to click See More to read through the entire post. It is a beautifully written post from the heart of a mother.

What did I do to deserve this?

Originally posted on Quirks and Chaos, Thursday, January 9, 2014 by Lisa Smith

What did I do to deserve a kid with special needs?
What did I do to deserve a kid that cannot express himself well enough to have a conversation?
What did I do to deserve a kid who cannot reciprocate my feelings of love?
What did I do to deserve a kid who can only think literally, a kid who never “gets” a joke, a kid who can never think “outside the box” or understand an idiom unless it is explained to him?
What did I do to deserve a kid that cannot empathize or sympathize with others, a kid who will never be able to see someone else’s perspective?

 See More…

Undeserved Blesssings

The Lord knows our hearts, after all He created it. He knows what we are capable of and where we can best serve within the body. He knows how we can best be of service to others and in what ways we can be glorify Him more than we know ourselves. He places us in just the right place and circumstances at just the right time. All He asks of us is a willing heart to be obedient to His will in our lives. Lisa understands this and chooses to see joy in the service of her King, even when it isn’t what she deserves.

Lisa SmithLisa Smith is a minister’s wife and the mother of seven children ranging in ages nine to twenty-five.  Lisa is a graduate of Harding University and writes Bible class material for Hanna Publications.   Her blog called “Quirks and Chaos” allows Lisa to share her experiences in parenting her two youngest children who have special needs.  Her readers are both entertained and educated as they discover what it means for a family to live with autism and ADHD.

~This Post Written by Team Member: Renee Brown


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Fixing our Eyes upon God

Encouragement for Times of Reflection and Prayer

Times of Struggle

As we seek to dedicate our lives in service to the LORD, we often find ourselves dwelling in the here and now. We get caught up in the struggles of this life and can lose sight of our goal.

Maybe you have been reading these articles of encouragement for service and thinking that right now is just not the right time, or that you are struggling just to make it through one day with your current responsibilities, so how can you add additional ones of service to others.

We at R16:16 want to say, it’s o.k. and we understand. We all go through periods of struggles, these are times when we are called to lean upon the Lord. In Christ’s ministry there were times when he was among the people serving as well as times when He was prayerful. Perhaps this is your time to be prayerful.

1 Timothy 2:5

“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,”

You are not alone. You have a mediator with the Father,here on earth, became a man, and experience all points of temptation just as we do. So He stands at the ready with God, mediating on our behalf. He knows there are times of prayer and reflection and times of service and teaching, and so do we. 

Amy blogs at “Why Amy Smiles.” She too knows what it’s like to be in a place of struggle. She wants to encourage you as well. The following is an excerpt from her blog. Be sure to link through to see more and read her entire article. It is an excellent reminder that when we are in the valley, we should look up to the Father for peace and comfort.

Out With the Old

Originally posted: Jan. 2 2013 at Why Amy Smiles
All Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible

2013 is done and gone. And frankly, I’m glad to see it go. At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, this past year has been one of the worst years of my life. But in addition to making one miserable, having a rotten year can also be an excellent and effective teacher. Here are three lessons I’ve learned:
First, I’ve learned to love the Psalms. They say misery loves company, and there is something very comforting about having someone else pour out his heart in words I can’t seem to find in mine. Just listen to a few of the many verses of the Psalms I’ve relied on this past year:
 When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,
Your consolations delight my soul. (94:19)
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him,
And rescues them. (34:7)
But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling,
My steps had almost slipped.
Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You have taken hold of my right hand.
With Your counsel You will guide me,
And afterward receive me to glory.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (73:2, 23-24, 26)
Use this time of reflection and pray for strength, knowledge and wisdom. Find comfort in God’s scriptures and allow Him to lead your heart to the place where once again you can find the call of service.
Amy AlbersAmy is a minister’s wife who lives in Texas and spends her days homeschooling her four kids. She believes there is always a reason to smile, but that sometimes you have to look really hard to find it. She usually has way too many irons in the fire, but thanks God daily for her full, busy life.
~ Article written by Team Member Renee Brown

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Virtuous Servant

Are you a Willing Participant in the Service of Our King

Willing Servant
Are you a virtuous servant? Do you lovingly, willingly set to the work of a servant? Or, do you grumble and complain each time the deacon comes to ask if you can help with____. Maybe you don’t actually grumble. But, in your heart/mind do you think, “Why doesn’t he get someone else, he always comes to me.”

We humans can get so caught up in our selves that we often forget that as Christians we are in communion with the Spirit of God. He knows our hearts, minds and attitudes. When we are asked to serve do we do it gladly as to the Lord?

This month, we encourage you to prayerfully consider how you are presenting your gifts of service to the Father. Listen truly to your heart and determine for yourself if you are a loving, willing participant in the service of our King.

10 Questions to Consider When Called to Service

  1. When asked to be of service do I grumble within my own heart?
  2. When acts of service are announced, do I willingly volunteer to fill any needed role?
  3. When I see something that needs to be done, do I wait to be asked, or do I jump in and serve the LORD?
  4. Do I look for someone else to pass the buck to, or do I receive the task gladly?
  5. Am I willing to receive instruction on how the task is to be performed, or do I only do it my own way?
  6. Do I think my way is better?
  7. Do I feel, even a little, superior because I get asked the most?
  8. How would I feel if a role I normally fulfill were suddenly given to someone else?
  9. Do I look at the service of others, elders, deacons, evangelists, teachers, etc., and think “I wish they would just… .” 
  10. Do I avoid certain people in the body for fear of being asked to do something that I may not want to do?

We talk often about the various roles that the virtuous woman played as found in Proverbs 31. We often overlook the foundational attitude with which she lived her life.

Today we are visiting with Ashlynfrom Consider the Lilies. She sought to look into the heart of the woman who Lemuel’s mother praised to see what led her to be so virtuous.

Serve Christ

Originally posted on Consider the Lilies by Ashlyn Bailey

(Pro 31:29) Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.

The virtuous woman excelled. That is, after all, what she strived for. But what made her surpass others? Her attitude! She had the heart of a servant. In all that she did her main goal and desire was to please God! As a Christian we must become servants of Christ!

(John 12:27) If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.

How do we serve Him? By following Him, obeying his commands.

(John 14:15) If ye love me, keep my commandments.

Obey just the commandments that are convenient to us? Or just the ones that we think are a good idea? No, we must obey all His commands!

 Ashlyn and her husband, Ryan, have been married for 5 years. She is currently an expectant mother. They worship with the Union church of Christ in Somerville, AL. Ashlyn enjoys writing and is a blogger at Consider the Lilies. She takes her title from Luke 12:27-40 She writes about biblical womanhood, stewardship & homemaking.
~ Article Written by R16:16 Team Member, Renee Brown

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