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Church for Autistics

Discussion in 'Autism & Aspergers' started by Stancet, Sep 17, 2016.

  1. Stancet

    Stancet Member

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    I'm a sinner, saved by grace, like all born-again Christians. I also have Aspergers Syndrome. I've been a Christian most of my life, but properly giving my heart to Jesus was tough because faith is a very elusive concept for people with Autism.

    Right now, I've committed my life to him and am growing stronger in my faith than I ever thought possible. I want to be a teacher or a missionary, and this has made me consider making a church specifically to reach people with Autism. Now, I don't feel the Lord's calling in my life just yet, but hypothetically I wanted to ask what you think such a church would do to help (or harm) the Autistic community.

    My thoughts are rather mixed at the minute. If the Lord called me and the opportunity was right I hope I'd be willing to take such a leap, but how does a church for people with autism sound to you?
     
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  2. Ken Behrens

    Ken Behrens Well-Known Member

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    I don't have the expertise to even imagine how the logistics would work. I'm willing to listen and try to ask some intelligent questions, if you would like to talk about the nuts and bolts of such a ministry. I cannot imagine how more presence of Jesus to any community could possibly harm them.
     
  3. Stancet

    Stancet Member

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    Well, as I've mentioned, faith is a very illusive concept to people with autism. The world is very materialistic and logic based, only because we are wired that way. It also takes time to develop feelings because it takes extra work to raise us into mature adults, sometimes. I think the biggest issue is, we can't just minister to the people with autism, but we have to minister to their whole family.

    Each and every message needs the potential to speak to people with and people without autism. Sometimes you'll minister only to the parents so you can help them minister to their autistic child at home. Or maybe you'll minister only to the autistic child so he has the courage to lead his parents to Jesus. But I think the biggest complication is, if all the programs are about helping the needs of autism, there remains nothing for ordinary people to do.
     
  4. Stancet

    Stancet Member

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    There is one defining quality such a church needs. Something I believe all churches need.

    A deep sincerity of heart and the presence of the Holy Spirit. People with autism will know if you are not the real deal. Most of them are looking for mentors who are willing to be their friend and their inspiration. What could be better than having a minister for a mentor?
     
  5. Ken Behrens

    Ken Behrens Well-Known Member

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    A church for people with autistic children makes perfect sense to me. Indeed, that would solve pretty much all the nuts and bolts issues. That way, you become a mentor to the mentors, and can select those autistic people to whom you could be a mentor yourself. But this look to me like it would need to be some sort of home church, i.e several families gathering in a home? It does not seem like it would be wise to try to do this with a public building, with the access and attention issues it cold generate.
     
  6. Stancet

    Stancet Member

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    This, indeed, is how most churches start. Realistically, I don't imagine this church being super huge. In fact, I believe that in a best case scenario this church would spread and have very small congregations dotted throughout the country, wherever people have autism. And since there are already so many support groups for autism, the sooner a Christian presence can be established the better I believe the Lord can do a work in their lives.
     
  7. Ken Behrens

    Ken Behrens Well-Known Member

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    Sounds to me like you will end up with a support ministry. If I had that vision, I'd get me a website, and start working to get members. Then, I'd discuss with the first members, determine what help they need, and assist them in starting small local groups with that vision. That would make a lot of your ministry, coordination of the effort, teaching, empowerment, etc. You could have one local group of your own, or maybe two or three in neighboring towns.
     
  8. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Repartee Animal: Quipping the Saints! Supporter

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    I am convinced that autism (in the absence of neurological injury) is a manifestation of the prophetic personality type (or motivational gift) mentioned in Romans 12:6-8. It doesn't mean that all Aspies are presently functioning as prophets,* but that would be our inclination as we grow spiritually. Prophet-types tend to be black & white and see how God's Law works in conjunction with His Grace. In autism, we call that pattern awareness. In turn, it often produces discernment, all of which God can hone and use for His glory.

    I believe that a church that was based only on prophets would be an imbalanced church. We need all of the gifts working together. John Wimber's Vineyard Christian Fellowship encouraged the inclusion of Aspies** and many of its present iteration, Association of Vineyard Churches, still do.

    *I am not speaking of the office of Prophet, in this case.
    **I didn't know, yet, that I was autistic, but I could see how the Holy Spirit bridged the gap. He certainly bridged the gap of faith, too. God knows how to speak Asperger's (and to Aspie hearts)...! :bow:
     
  9. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Repartee Animal: Quipping the Saints! Supporter

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    It really helps if you take a "black box" approach to faith :idea: (at least, at first).
     
  10. Dave-W

    Dave-W Welcoming grandchild #7, Arturus Waggoner! Supporter

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    Interesting. What led you to that conclusion?
    There is a big difference between the person with a gift of prophecy and the office of prophet.

    One needs only to read the collected works of Rick Joyner to see how imbalanced that can be.

    ETA: My oldest granddaughter may have a mild case of either Aspy or another high function Autism spectrum condition. Her mom (my daughter) gave me a few books to read on the subject and found some very familiar things to my own life. She thinks I have it as well and I am open to the idea. BTW - I have functioned in the prophetic myself, and it is frequently how I do intercessory prayer. (vision-led prayer) I have had that since grade school.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2016
  11. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Repartee Animal: Quipping the Saints! Supporter

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    I have read some descriptive material of the prophetic motivational gift in action. Its description parallels the Aspergers experience. Immediate traits that spring to mind are Black & White thinking and embracing [the Spirit of*] the Law.

    I'm guessing that many of us go (or have gone) through a legalistic [read: letter of the Law] phase in our growth process, too. It is when we realize that we can't maintain even our own desired standards, that we recognize the role of God's Grace in the sanctification process.** Or, as Keith Green sang,

    "Just keep doing your best
    and pray that it's blessed
    and Jesus takes care of the rest...!"

    *"He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." 2 Corinthians 3:6

    **"He has shown you, O man, what is good;
    And what does the Lord require of you
    But to do justly,
    To love mercy,
    And to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:8
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2016
  12. S.O.J.I.A.

    S.O.J.I.A. Dynamic UNO

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    The properly functioning church is one that will accommodate the needs of all of Christ's bride no matter who they are or what situation they're in. any sort of homogenization of an assembly I don't find positive. a big issue with the church today is that it really doesn't do very well with diversity. the common denominator within any congregation should be Christ and nothing else. I believe that cowboy churches, rock and roll churches, businessman churches, or even autistic churches are not a good idea as the unity is centered around something other than Christ.

    what is a good idea is to send people out from the church to reach out to certain groups of people and bring them into the church that will receive them based on their need for Jesus.
     
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