Alumni News

New Ability Bible Buddies Ministry

by Office of Marketing | Jan 30, 2015
Ability Bible Buddies
A new student-led ministry, Ability Bible Buddies, recently got underway at the Freedom Valley YMCA in Phoenixville, Pa. Meeting Wednesdays from 6:30–7:30 pm, the ministry seeks to spread the Word of God and the message of the Gospel to children. Bible Buddies is geared toward children with special needs; it is the first University of Valley Forge (UVF) student-led ministry of its kind. However, the ministry is not at all exclusive, as it seeks to reach out to all children regardless of their needs. 

The Bible Buddies ministry at UVF was inspired by Denise Howland, an administrative assistant at the university, who modeled the group after a program by the same name that began at her church. Howland reached out to Shawna Johnson, an early childhood education major and junior at UVF, because of her well-known passion and drive to minister to children with special needs. When asked how she felt about leading the ministry, Johnson replied that it was a great opportunity for her to pursue God's call on her life, pointing out that, at the time, there was no student-led ministry for children with special needs. Johnson and five other UVF students currently run the ministry. 

The Bible Buddy meetings begin with a small worship service. As many as eight children are present at each meeting. Following a time of praise and worship, the student leaders discuss a Bible story with the children welcoming them to interact with the text. After the Bible story discussion, the children participate in craft time. Finally, toward the end of the meeting, Bible Buddies closes with another praise and worship song. 

Every meeting is full of excitement, and the children participating in Bible Buddies never leave disappointed. Johnson, whose heart is for children with special needs, experiences firsthand the effects that the ministry has on the children. "The parents always tell me how much their children talk about the ministry," she said. "The parents really appreciate what we do. It is a great way to spread the word of God to any children who attend, and their reactions are always positive."