Solutions: Finding Devotional Materials for Teens with Special Needs

Please meet my friend and colleague, Kelly Norville.


Kelly serves as Special Needs Ministry Coordinator at Christ Community Chapel in Hudson, OH…and she does it with passion, energy, and exceptional care. (and a great sense of humor as well.) Every time I’m with Kelly, I learn something new and useful. If you are in Northeast Ohio, you MUST pay her a visit!

One of the things I love about ministry work is brainstorming with other ministry leaders. When we work together, we are almost certain to land on a solution that will meet the needs of our students and their families. SO, when Kelly emailed last week, I was thrilled to brainstorm a solution with her!

The situation: Kelly was doing some planning for students in her program, and wanted to find some devotional materials for teen girls with special needs.

The solution: We brainstormed some possibilities that would fit the interests and needs of the kids with whom she is ministering. Below are some of our favorites:

soulsurferSoul Surfer by Bethany Hamilton. This might be appealing because it is written by Bethany Hamilton…a real person who is not much older than some of the kids in the program. They could also watch the movie, “Soul Surfer,” which could aid in  comprehension and provide context. (book from Joni and Friends, $15)

parables10 Minute Parables  These are short lessons, which may be helpful teens who have difficulty sustaining attention. Some students will need a clear, concise explanation of how parables are a simple way to understand complicated topics. This series is designed specifically for teens, so those who have difficulty with comprehension, or who are functioning on a more concrete level will benefit from pre-teaching and reviewing. (Group Publishing, $6.99)

10 Minute Moments: The Basics  This is another Group resource…I like that it works through the book of John, because that is such a foundational book. In addition, when material is presented as solid, basic, truth, (as in this resource) it makes understanding intangible concepts (like faith!) much easier for kids with autism.

ChurchEditionVolume1_largeWhat’s In the Bible Series. Bear with me here…I know this series seems like it’s very elementary-friendly…it IS designed for kids. HOWEVER…the humor and language move quickly, so it absolutely appeals to older kids (and adults, too.) Proof: I had “kids “in my family room ranging in age from 5 – 22 who were all watching this last Christmas…and LOVING it.) This series is designed by Veggie Tales creator, Phil Vischer. There are companion downloads, coloring pages, and music, in addition to a full curriculum. (my friend and colleague, Amy Dolan served on the curriculum team!) This would be a fabulous resource for students who need repetition, respond well to music, and also for those for whom video is a preferred method of learning. Finally, this is one of my favorite resources in terms of helping kids understand God’s story as a whole, not just as isolated stories.
(Jelly Fish Labs, DVDs start at $14.99; Curriculum starts at $79.00; also available; music, digital downloads, web resources and more!)

The 13 Most Important Bible Lessons for Teenagers. I like this for the same reasons that I like the What’s in the Bible series…it’s good meat-and-potatoes, presented as FACT. In addition, Group’s lessons include drama and hands-on materials designed to make the lessons relevant to each learner’s needs. (Group Publishing, $21.99)

BelieveitornotBelieve it or Not Bible Studies. This is one of those out-of-the-box type of studies that captures some kids who have a fascination with the interesting and obscure. Definitely a different way to go (and I can think of a few teen boys who would really get into this…a whole chapter on Jesus’ spit? Cool!)
 Group Publishing, $16.99

GodOurFatherGod Our Father  Friendship Ministries is always a good, solid resource. This publisher breaks down information into very manageable portions. Many of the resources in this series are designed for folks with cognitive disabilities. If kids need really straightforward information, stated in simple terms, this would probably be helpful. Materials include music on CD, leaders’ guides, and take-home papers. Also in this series…Jesus Our Savior; Spirit Our Helper
Faith Alive Resources/Friendship Ministries, CD: $12.49; Leader’s packet: $85.99; Youth Take-Home Papers: $26.49

As with any solution…there’s no “one-size fits all…” Hopefully these resources will spark an idea that will meet the needs of the teens in your programs!

Do you have materials that have worked wonderfully with teens? Leave a message or tell me here .

Happy Monday!

Winner of the “What’s In The Bible” Curriculum

winnerCongratulations to Liz Worsley from the United Kingdom! You have won a copy of the curriculum that accompanies the Easter story from our friends at “What’s In The Bible!”

Please email me with your mailing address, so you can receive your prize!

If you are interested in more information about this great curriculum, visit the What’s In the Bible  website .

What's In The Bible

Dear friends…I wish you a wonderful Easter. The tomb is empty…HE IS RISEN!
He is Risen indeed.

That is cause for celebration!

The Easter Story from “What’s in the Bible” (Plus a great giveaway!!!)

Oh, my friends…I have SUCH a treat to share with you today!

What's In The BibleMy friends from “What’s In the Bible” have edited one of their DVD’s into an 11-minute video that shares the GOOD NEWS of the gospel…and it is absolutely free, and yours for the clicking!

Have a look:

This video is everything you’d expect from Veggie Tales creator, Phil Vischer, and his team…fabulous story-telling, solid Biblical content, and lots of fun. I was especially impressed with the visual representation of sin, making this abstract concept a bit more concrete, especially for those kids who need strong visual cues. In addition, the creators took great care to tell about the crucifixion in an honest, but not frightening way…an important balance for all kids, but especially for those who struggle with anxiety.

And guess what?? My wonderful friend, Amy Dolan, who is part of this team, said that the WITB folks will be happy to give a set of curriculum that accompanies this video to one of you!! What a perfect present for your Easter basket.

If you’d like to win, please leave me a comment or send an email to  no later than 11 pm EST on Thursday, March 28. I’ll announce the winner on Friday!

Easter blessings, friends!