Does your church have opportunities for members with special needs to serve on a team? Finding the right fit for each person is important.
In this video, MediaShout President, Eric Eitel, speaks with his brother, Dr. Douglas R. Eitel, MBA, JD, MD as they explore his perspective of media team volunteer recruitment. As a psychiatrist, Dr. Eitel specializes in autism, PTSD, and addictions and has been the Medical Director at the Colorado Autism Center and The War Heroes Hospital. He provides great insight into this topic of special interest for media ministries.
Recently, Dr. Eitel was thinking about Mediashout and he realized that it is more than just a media and worship software company. Mediashout offers the opportunity to help people get involved and further the mission of the Church in their communities. In Dr. Eitel’s work, he has realized that there is a need for people with autism to be able to serve in their churches. Some of them want to learn how to connect in church, but don’t know where to start.
He began thinking about the people who serve in the tech booth using church presentation software and how that may be the perfect opportunity to disciple and invite them into community and fellowship. Dr. Eitel suggests that technology is a great vehicle to give people who have autism a place to serve at church. Being the greeter at the front of the church may not be the best place for a person with autism to serve, but the tech booth might be the perfect fit.
In order to fully utilize the positives of these potential serving relationships, the media team and ministry leaders must not only train volunteers to use worship presentation software and other equipment such as the church computer, however. They have a responsibility to disciple these new volunteers to help them grow in their faith. Without making generalizations about everyone on the autism spectrum, Dr. Eitel suggests that some people within this group are prime candidates to serve in the booth because of their affinity and capabilities with technology.
Many churches struggle to find volunteer church media operators to serve in their worship services week in and week out. Church creative teams should always be recruiting, and this could be one area that is a win-win situation. Highly qualified volunteers may be discovered and simultaneously those volunteers will be provided with a rich, welcoming, and familiar small group community to join.
Dr. Eitel advises one of the challenges people with autism face is that they are misunderstood and often not considered for opportunities that they would excel in. And when people are misunderstood, the church body loses out on a whole host of potential gifts waiting to be shared. Someone out there may only be waiting for an invitation.
The simple fact is, people with autism present an image of Christ that we can learn from. Dr. Eitel encourages tech teams to seek out people who would benefit from the community and the discipleship that would come from being a part of their ministries. If you are a media team member anywhere in the world, you have a great opportunity to go to your lead pastor, worship leader, or creative director, and present this initiative to provide a place for people with autism to serve and be served. The opportunity for discipleship, relationships, and valuable volunteer service are unimaginable.
Many people with autism probably haven’t approached a church leader to try to find a place to serve. So let’s take the steps to create that opportunity for them, to plug them in, give them training on church presentation software and creative arts, and help them use their unique God-given gifts to further His Kingdom here on earth.
There are many places people with autism could serve in the church, and maybe Dr. Eitel’s thoughts open the doors of consideration for many more. But one thing’s for sure, running MediaShout in your media ministry could be the perfect place for someone on the autism spectrum to feel like they belong.