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Asperger's Syndrome and Ministry

Discussion in 'Autism & Aspergers' started by AspergersChristian555, May 24, 2009.

  1. AspergersChristian555

    AspergersChristian555 New Member

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    How can someone with Asperger's be effective in ministry? What kinds of ministry are best for someone with Asperger's? Can Aspies be pastors or overseas missionaries? While obviously Asperger's brings some struggles to trying to minister to people, can it help at times also? What is everyone here's experience?

    Personally, I have found that God can use me in ministry. I have actually led two people through a prayer to accept Christ as their Savior and I have shared the gospel with several people.

    Once again I might highlight the question should Aspies be overseas missionaries - that is what I actually want to do.
     
  2. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Repartee Animal

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    Do you preach in that capacity or is it more counseling or administrative...?
     
  3. AspergersChristian555

    AspergersChristian555 New Member

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    Oh I definitely do not have the gift of administrative tasks. Tough to stay organized and I usually focus on one thing at a time and get stuck on it. But I think I have the gift of preaching and I can sometimes give some good counsel to others. I'm not an official minister or anything. I'm a college guy, but I am exploring what I should do after graduation.
     
  4. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Repartee Animal

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    So, as an Aspie you are able to connect with an NT audience or does being a different culture help in that regard? Or,... just a total reliance on God's grace; where we are weak, He is strong...?
     
  5. elishasdad

    elishasdad New Member

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    Sorry this is way late but I just found this website. I was a missionary in Nepal 10 years ago and was relatively close with another missionary who most certainly had Aspergers. He was a great missionary and had a beautiful family with 5 kids. So yes, you can certainly be a missionary if that is what God is calling you to do.
     
  6. amberlight

    amberlight Newbie

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    There are lots of church leaders who are on the autism spectrum - whether it's people leading worship, people doing pastoral work, people running the choir or helping with the finance. There are evangelists and preachers and every other sort of leader. And plenty of others who are quiet or active members of the congregation, each bringing their own skills, love and prayer to God. Go with your heart, always.
     
  7. dayhiker

    dayhiker Mature veteran

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    I have lead Sunday School classes adn preached quite often for many years. Tho some have commented that I view things different than other pastors, they like my perspective. Since AS is a spectrum wether a person could be effective in minister depends on how AS is manifest in them and how much they have learned about how to love people. I don't think there is a rule that can tell one if they will be effective or not.
     
  8. MoeSzyslak

    MoeSzyslak Regular Member

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    I have troubles with ministries at church. I also struggle with participating in small groups. Most sunday's I just drop the kids off for their service and then I go drink coffee. I am uncomfortable in the service. I don't understand the whole connections and interactions between the people. If I go in I usually am just an observer in the corner to the whole thing. It's really akward. It seems like there's all this stuff going on around me and I just don't get it.

    But enough of me. If you feel called to oversea ministries, go for it. Thats awesome.
     
  9. carlyle418

    carlyle418 Proudly riding with the King's cavalry!

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    I'm very glad I found this. I'm new here, but I have wondered about other aspies in ministry. Like Moe, I'm very uncomfortable in church services, especially when the pastor has everyone greet each other and shake hands. Fortunately, I've finally found a church with a few ASD members and a pastor with some understanding of ASDs. The pastor has been a great help with some of the issues I struggle with in my faith.

    As far as my thoughts on whether aspies can be effective in ministry, I agree with dayhiker. I would add that it is especially important for aspie leaders to surround themselves with people who can make up for their weaknesses. I would be interested in having an ongoing discussion specific to aspies in ministry. I would like to see how others have overcome their challenges.
     
  10. MoeSzyslak

    MoeSzyslak Regular Member

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    My biggest obstacle in missions, which has gotten to the point where I am just about to quit trying, is that I am not wanted anywhere. Every sunday, the call goes out for volunteers. I always volunteer. I never get any replies from anybody heading up the ministry. I've seen them ask for volunteers, of which I do. Then a few weeks later they ask for volunteers again because there is still a need?? Sorry I am wierd and not popular enough. I know if I went to the pastor he would find a home for me, but I'm not going to force my way in. Now that I am thinking about it. I am done volunteering. If it was God's will the door would have been opened.

    Sorry I am in a bad mood tonight.
     
  11. carlyle418

    carlyle418 Proudly riding with the King's cavalry!

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    Moe,

    I've been thinking about what you said here for several days...

    I'm inclined to agree that God will open the door if it's his will. I've been miserable in every ministry position I've ever volunteered for. I didn't volunteer for this motorcycle ministry - I was dragged into it. I didn't volunteer to be the chaplain for my chapter - I was appointed. I initially declined the presidency because I struggle with social anxiety. I finally agreed to do it if a certain well-spoken man could be VP. I should have known better, considering what happened to Moses, but my VP and I were elected by a unanimous vote.

    That said, I understand the feeling that you are not wanted, but I wonder: is that reality, or is that your perception? I've expressed similar feelings to my wife, and she has often pointed out that my perception might be wrong. I still often feel I'm not wanted, but now that I've been elected president of a ministry organization, my wife has a lot of evidence for arguing that it's just my perception.

    I pray that God will open a door for you into the ministry where you truly belong. I also pray that you won't let your perception get in the way of going through it. :)
     
  12. MoeSzyslak

    MoeSzyslak Regular Member

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    There is probably some truth to that. If I was to be a third party observer it would probably look like a mixed bag.

    The crew that is rebuilding the homeless shelter love me because there is nothing I can't do with my hands. I do it all; plumbing, electrical, roofing, carpentry, tyling. You name it, my hands do it. If not, give me a library book and 15 minutes.

    Maybe I just have to focus on what I have and be more patient until the other doors open.

    Thanks for the reminder.
     
  13. GordyJ7

    GordyJ7 Newbie

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    I am looking for ministry opportunities as well. I believe God creates us all uniquely, and uses us to advance His Kingdom in so many ways. I would love to do mission work, however it requires money, and that I do not have, and I don't really want to ask people for it. Is there a mission organization that pays??
     
  14. Elana

    Elana New Member

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    I have Asperger's. I also have turrets syndrome. I am also a missionary in Central Asia. It is my belief that in my personal life that having Asperger's has actually helped me succeed in the missions field. I will explain a bit of my story in hopes of bringing forth more understanding and in hopes of encouraging you as a fellow believer in Christ.

    When I am in my home country I often feel out of place and I tend to not fit in socially. I find myself easily overwhelmed by large groups of people, the loud noises that the West is often known and accompanied with and once again I am thrown into a society that often has unspoken expectations for me to 'fit in', adapt and fill the social gap by acting as they do.Yet I am unable to do so and quite frankly I don't really care to. I don't mind being different. I am often told I am very socially awkward, blunt and strange in my ways. This does however make my times in America feel more stressful than when I am overseas.

    Living in Central Asia is a different story. To the natives where I live I am already drastically different. I am white. I am Western (even though a un-ordinary one but they don't really have much to compare it to...they don't even realize this). They expect that I will be different. They expect that I will never be able to fully comply to their social and cultural ways no matter how much time I spend studying their culture, language and ways I will never be like them. For me this takes off a huge stress. Other missionaries on my team are stressed out by this fact but for me it is comforting. They don't notice how socially awkward I really am because I am already so different from them. I also have the added fact that I have spent much of my life studying social cues and society which makes adapting and learning a new culture much easier for me. And my sensory processing problems decreased significantly where I live in Central Asia. Due to poverty and being not nearly as developed as in America or the West it is quite much of this also has to do with cultural differences as well. It is peaceful. My home has no electricity which eliminates my biggest annoyance (the constant hum of a light bulb). In general the culture its self is quiet. I no longer feel overloaded with sounds and lights because they are nearly non-existent. Being able to have great focus and a specific field of interest helps as well. For me I can intensely focus on language learning. I am able to quickly and effectively learn a language. And God has given me a passion and desire to bring the Gospel to the Muslim nations. I am committed to fulfill this calling to the best of my abilities.

    This does not mean that being a missionary with Asperger's does not come without difficulties. Obviously, any missionary position is not a easy task to fulfill. Although, I find it easier to initiate and create lasting relationships overseas than in my home country it is still a difficulty at times to communicate and get full understanding at times though it is a huge plus that all my relationships are very patient with me and understand that I am communicating through my non-native language and through a learned cultural perspective. They have to explain more and I have to question. I hope I have explained this well. Another struggle is with lack of privacy or alone time. I need alone time. In Central Asia or at least in the part I live in the aspect of alone time in strange to them and not well understood. Families and friends sleep in the same room, spend abundant amounts of time together and if you wonder into your room to get a breather they will follow you. It is hard to get to be alone. Yet, it is not impossible. I have to schedule time into my day and find creative and intentional ways to be able to spend time alone. You may have to get a bit creative, but it is needed and worth it.

    My team rents out a small room that we all have certain times of the day to use to spend time by ourselves and to get away if needed. Just a idea for any teams out there this is a great tool and idea!

    I hope this has helped you in some way and encouraged you. God will use you no matter your circumstances. He will use a Aspie just the same as a neurotypical. God does not make mistakes and you should take comfort in that. I believe God gifted me with the personality, tools and gifts that I need to be beneficial in the missions field. He created me for this purpose-- to bring glory to God by serving Him. He created me with Asperger's and if you have it then He created you that way as well. It is perfect and well thought out in Gods plan for your life. I pray that you will be lead in the ministry in whichever way God has called you.
     
  15. THE W

    THE W Your friendly neighborhood vagabond

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    get in where you fit in.

    focus on what you can do and be okay with what you can't do. The LORD will bless us when we are faithful with the little he gives us.
     
  16. Wm Cook

    Wm Cook New Member

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    As an Aspie in ministry, I do what I'm called to do. I have learned to listen to them (it took time) and try to provide an answer (when needed) or prayer for them. I'm a Pastor of a small house church, and my people enjoy my different approach to things. I'm not a Pastor for all, granted, but to the ones I'm called to be, I do my best, and that's all God ask.