The purpose of the Special Needs conference is to provide you with training, tools, and resources to equip you and your church to either start a ministry to individuals and families affected by disabilities or to improve your current ministry. If your concern is how to be more effective in outreach, what does inclusion within the church look like, or you would like to be more knowledgeable in engaging the world’s largest unreached people group, this conference will provide all of that and more!
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BCM/D Special Needs Conference
July 20 @ 9:00 am - 2:00 pm
2019 Conference Speakers
Tom currently serves the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware as Associate Executive Director. Tom has many responsibilities, including leading BCM/D’s special needs ministries. His youngest son, Jimmy, is a child with autism. Tom passionately serves our churches in the area of effective special needs ministry, including leading seminars, conducting training, and helping churches start or improve these ministries. He also enjoys participating in events that raise awareness for special needs causes, such as walks for autism.
Alisha Williams is a loving wife and mother of four wonderful children, Sheila, Steven, Joshua and Josiah. Her and her husband, Rev. Franklyn Williams Jr., have been married for over 15 years and attend Colonial Baptist Church in Randallstown, MD. She loves serving the Lord in every area of her life. She’s a Contracting Officer’s Representative and Budget Analyst for the Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services. She serves in Sunday school, the choir, Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU), Drama Ministry, Hands of Glory Deaf Ministry, Ebenezer International Ministries, Health and Wellness Ministry and is head of the Inspire Special Needs Ministry at Colonial Baptist Church. She is also a certified Youth and Adult Mental Health First Aid Instructor. Alisha is a veteran who served twelve years in the Maryland Army National Guard and worked with Chaplains and Chaplain’s Assistants while serving in the military and as a veteran. Her life verses are “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, presents your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus”. Philippians 4:6-7. Also, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
From the age of seven, Amberle felt called to be a missionary to an unreached people group. However, at the age of 21,a rare disease left her eyes legally blind and her hopes seemingly dashed. in a beautiful story of redemption, God called Amberle to be a missionary to the largest unreached people group in the world – people with disabilities. Amberle works full-time with World Relief, an organization committed to empowering the Church to serve the most vulnerable around the world – and is the Executive Director of The Banquet Network, which strives to encourage all churches to obey the Luke 14 mandate by promoting disability-inclusion in he Church.
Breakout Session Speakers
Katie is the parent of a child with special needs, the cohort coordinator for The Banquet Network and the director of a special needs children’s ministry called Bethany Blessings in Columbia, Maryland. She is passionate about bringing the gospel to families of individuals with special needs and seeks to train other church members on how to minister to these families. As a mom and a previous public school special educator she knows first-hand what a blessing it can be to work with those who have disabilities, particularly children and young adults.
Lainie Browning is a stay at home mom of 2 boys, Nicholas, 11 yrs old and Trent 17 yrs old, who has Down Syndrome, Autism and is non-verbal. He is the inspiration behind her true passion of meeting the needs of special needs families in her community. She started the Special Blessings Ministry at her church in White House, TX hoping to make the church a special needs friendly church. Shortly after starting up Special Blessings Lainie also started an Adult Day-Hab Program, Life Blessings.
Bergina Brickhouse Isbell, MD is America’s Spiritual and Mental Health Doctor and she believes there is a cure for cancer of the soul. The author of Victory Over Depression With and Without Medicines and Come to the Table: A Special Needs Devotional has been recognized as an influencer who combines the sacred with the scientific. She has been described as a combination of Dr. Oz meets Dr. Caroline Leaf.
Dr. Bergina, as she is affectionately called by clients and patients, has been a speaker at South by Southwest (SXSW), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the Autism Society, Society of Surgical Technologists, Curves Rock, Mocha Moms, and BizKids. In addition to being a featured broadcaster on Periscope by Twitter for their Wellness Warriors program, expertise from her signature process for mental health coaching has been featured in SHAPE magazine and on WGTS 91.9 radio. Dr. Bergina is a Board Certified Johns Hopkins and Mayo Clinic trained Psychiatrist recognized for her specialization in the treatment of patients with trauma, depression, and special needs, including autism. She is the founder of Led Life, LLC, a mental health consulting practice where she provides corporate wellness and individual psychiatric services. She provides mental health coaching through Growing in Grace Life Coaching, LLC. When not using the world as a classroom for her two homeschooled children, she enjoys Bible journaling, ballroom dancing with her husband, and doing burpees.
Jim and Liz Baker have served in mission in Europe since 1994, first with The Navigators and, since 2004, with ReachGlobal. They lived in Kyiv, Ukraine for over a dozen years. Jim currently serves as an Area Leader on the Europe Division Leadership Team with a primary focus being leading and growing ReachGlobal’s Marginal Mission Network: “mobilizing the church to the margins and growing the church from the margins.” Jim holds an MDiv with a specialization in Christianity and Contemporary Culture from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and is ordained in the Evangelical Free Church of America. Jim and Liz have been married for 38 years and have four children and five grandchildren. Jim and Liz currently live in a 150-year-old grist mill on a creek outside of Appomattox, VA. When Jim isn’t in Europe, he helps Liz in the work to develop a little place in the woods into a retreat/training/outreach center that might bring seekers after truth and servants of the King together from a variety of places and cultures to create and celebrate community. We want to be an accessible, inclusive gospel presence where we are and build bridges from there to what the Church is doing in global mission.
You can check out where they live now at https://facebook.com/themillpondbakers
Jim blogs at www.millpondporch.com
Michael Crawford leads the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware’s church multiplication “squad,” that seeks to discover, develop and deploy church planters through church planter assessment and ongoing church plant support.
He is a Los Angeles area native and pastored several churches before being called to urban ministry and to Baltimore to plant Freedom Church. He is a co-founder of The Banquet Network and chief mobilizer for the church to reach the disability population.
Larry Davis serves as Senior Pastor at Grace Seaford Church. God has used Larry’s daughter, Britney, who is affected by autism, to further a passion for individuals affected by disabilities. Earlier this year, Larry was instrumental in organizing a “Night to Shine” prom event for special needs attendees, rallying more than 150 volunteers to serve 65 very special guests within the community. Larry worked as an Engineer for ten years before he committed to full-time ministry in 2003. Larry has a Bachelor of Arts in Religion from Luther Rice University and an MA in Ethical Leadership from Claremont Lincoln University. He loves investing in other leaders and believes that God has placed dreams in the deep wells of all of our souls. Great leaders draw out those dreams with compassion, wisdom, and understanding.