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Stephen Grcevich, MD
Chagrin Falls, Ohio
Christ-follower, husband, dad, ministry leader, child psychiatrist
Interests: Ministry to families with special emotional/behavioral needs, child mental health research, teaching, cultural issues, politics, economics, sports, church leadership
Recent Activity
Dave Workman at Vineyard Community Church in Cincinnati has created an extraordinary culture of service. Check this out from last weekend: http://www.wcpo.com/news/local/story/Special-Prom-Rolling-Out-The-Red-Carpet/J3XEOD-hiUuefWYvoTz_xQ.cspx
We have a church in our area that encourages families to offer "relational respite" to neighbors with special needs. Members offer to provide in-home child care to neighbors whose children have significant emotional or behavioral conditions so that the parent(s) can enjoy some badly needed personal time for dinner, conversation, attending a small group or Bible study, shopping... or whatever else the parent would like to do that families unaffected by a person with special needs take for granted.
Karyn: From your posts, it sounds like you've got quite a bit on your plate these days. While your son may not have a "disability" as dramatic as some described on this blog, his struggles, and those of your family are no less significant. I'd argue that any mental or physical impairment that substantially limits a person's ability to pursue spiritual growth and fully participate in the life of a local church constitutes a significant disability. You used the term "drive me to distraction" in your post. There's a well-known book on ADHD titled "Driven to Distraction", and while one obviously can't jump to any conclusions based upon two posts on a blog, what you describe about yourself in your fluctuating enthusiasm and your son in terms of his educational struggles wouldn't be inconsistent with the experiences of persons with ADHD. CHADD (www.chadd.org) is an excellent resource for information on that condition. There are lots of possible explanations for your son's academic struggles, and if you haven't already, you would definitely want to consider having him assessed for possible learning difficulties through his school, and for other medical or mental health conditions by a qualified professional in your area with training and experience in working with teenagers. I trust that the Lord will use these circumstances to fulfill His purpose for you, your son, and your family. PS: Check out Psalm 138
Toggle Commented Aug 12, 2009 on Welcome at Special Needs
Janet: What church are you associated with in Akron? There are some great things going on with special needs ministry in your area. Joni and Friends in Ohio is looking to revitalize their efforts in your area, and a number of churches, including both campuses of Akron Chapel, Faith Family Church in Jackson, and Johnson United Methodist in Norton have been training to better serve families with hidden disabilities. I'm sure they'd all be happy to hear about what you're doing.
Toggle Commented Aug 12, 2009 on Welcome at Special Needs
Laura: It's awesome to hear that God is calling you to extend his blessing to families of kids with special needs. Like you, I find it's not necessarily easy to share one's faith at work absent a clear opening to do so. Have you considered organizing some friends from your church to provide respite care to parents of the kids you and your colleagues serve in your classrooms? The divorce rate in families experiencing a significant disability is 80%, so the opportunity for parents to get a little time together knowing their child's needs and those of their siblings will be addressed for a few hours can be an incredible blessing. We're aware of more and more churches that are using respite care as an effective outreach strategy to reach families of kids with special needs. Of the churches our organization works with, somewhere between 25-40% of families that attend a church-based respite event will eventually attend a worship service at the church offering respite. Vineyard Community Church in Cincinnati is doing some tremendous things with respite as an outreach tool, including developing software for a website that will allow parents to access respite from networks of churches in their metropolitan area. Harmony Hensley is their pastor for disability services and outreach. Harmony does some training for us and has published resources for churches through www.ccfh.org. Her E-mail is hhensley@vineyardcincinnati.com. Another great resource for churches looking at respite is Nathaniel's Hope in Orlando. Their website is www.nathanielshope.org. If you're looking for other ideas to serve, feel free to contact us at www.keyministry.org. Trust me, we'll think of something together.
Toggle Commented Aug 12, 2009 on Welcome at Special Needs
I found the stories that many of you shared here to be SO inspiring! Despite the struggles each of you overcome on a daily basis, you persist in turning to God and honoring Him through your words here, and through your actions at home. I'd like to share a different perspective. I'm a physician who specializes in child and adolescent psychiatry, and I lead a very dedicated team of staff and volunteers in an outreach that seeks to equip churches (completely free of charge) to minister to families of children with special emotional and behavioral needs. I had been sitting around all smug and satisfied after some very big ministry successes this week until Colleen E-mailed me to suggest I check out the stuff you were posting on this blog. I'd like to thank Colleen for exploding what had otherwise been a very pleasant day. After feeling inspired by the stories many of you shared, my next reaction was one of intense anger. Part of Christ's mission was to allow us to experience His Father's Kingdom here on Earth, restoring things to the way they were meant to be. Jesus' healing ministry was a tangible means through which people experienced the Kingdom, and men and women flocked to Him from great distances partly because of His reputation as a healer. The church has the responsibility, guided by the Holy Spirit, to serve as the hands and feet of Jesus and the representation of His Kingdom until He personally returns. It's obvious to me from the stories you've shared that we as the church have totally dropped the ball and have failed miserably to share Christ's unconditional love with families impacted by disabilities. THIS CANNOT STAND! We need to reclaim this territory back on behalf of God's Kingdom. Think about this: How many other families do you encounter in clinic waiting rooms, at therapy sessions, in support groups and in your social networks struggling to get through the day who don't have a relationship with Christ to fall back upon during the most difficult times. Families who would appreciate the smallest kindness, gesture or encouragement? I don't believe God ever wastes a hurt. Might He use your experiences and stories to alert churches of the desperate need for love, acceptance and support they might address through reaching out to families in circumstances similar to yours? Could your stories be the inspiration that spurs others to serve? How might He use the gifts and talents he gave YOU and YOUR CHILDREN to minister to the needs of other families in your community, or to others throughout the world through the use of technology. Could God use your circumstances through inviting you to partner with Him in building His Kingdom? What could be better (or more fun) than playing for God's team while doing work of lasting significance? Thanks to Colleen and her family for having the spiritual guts to faithfully pursue God's call in the midst of the adversity they've experienced and place this issue squarely on the church's radar screen. In the next few days, every one of our ministry staff, volunteers and supporters will be encouraged to visit this blog, read your stories, and be reminded of why we were called to do the ministry Christ placed before us. On behalf of Key Ministry, we're looking forward to providing whatever information, encouragement and support we can to those of you touched through the ministry Colleen has established with Insight for Living. In His Service, Stephen Grcevich, MD President, Board of Directors Key Ministry Foundation www.keyministry.org
Toggle Commented Jun 18, 2009 on Questions at Special Needs