Unique image bearers of God

USA (MNN) — There’s a reason we don’t all have the same life experiences. It’s through our experiences, good and bad, that we learn life lessons. Can you imagine having to learn all life lessons by yourself? That would probably be pretty painful, and even more confusing than life already is.

The Body of Christ is an excellent example of how life lessons can be shared. For David and Sally Gallagher, a big life lesson was learning how precious individuals with physical or mental challenges are, and how they are unique image bearers of God.

Image by The King's Table Ministries

(Image by The King’s Table Ministries)

Sally’s sister was born with developmental disabilities when Sally was three. As the two sisters got older, Sally developed a special bond with her sister. David Gallagher’s oldest daughter, Katie, was born with Down syndrome.

Sally Gallagher, executive director of The King’s Table Ministries says, “My husband and I both, I believe, were sculpted by God over the years to love this people group and become an advocate for them.”

This advocacy is now a well-extended ministry. Gallagher explains, “We help churches to develop programming in their church for special needs children and adults so that when they’re young ,then the parents have the ability to still be able to worship together and join a Sunday school class because now there’s a place for their child to be able to learn about God also.”

Gallagher says a lot of times churches hesitate to institute these types of programs on their own. Why? She says, “I think sometimes churches feel like they’re not adequately equipped as far as their staff, their volunteers.” Other times, churches may feel they wouldn’t be able to afford this kind of programming.

“You need a few people who have a heart for it, and a few dollars, and that’s about it,” Gallagher explains.

The King’s Table Ministries exists to help equip churches and to let them know it is possible to carry these programs.

This ministry doesn’t stop in the church, however. King’s Table Ministries also works within the local public school system and adult foster care homes.

This is done through volunteers from the churches. For residents of adult foster care homes, Gallagher says, “They have a real need for having people to not only love them but just to be a part of their life, to be an advocate to them, and to be Jesus to them.”

And while public schools usually have a budget set aside to address the different needs for students with physical or mental disabilities, money is tight.

The King’s Table Ministries helps not only financially, but “when we come in, we bring the nuances that add special touches such as the staff/teacher luncheon that we do once a year, [and] the landscaping. We also do a carnival picnic for a welcome back to school for the families and the children,” says Gallagher.

The school can help connect families with the resources The King’s Table Ministries has. Sometimes they provide a wheelchair or a shower chair, for instance.

Families who have a hard time with insurance covering these supplies find it helpful to connect with The King’s Table Ministries.

The name “King’s Table” comes from 2 Samuel 9, where King David invites Jonathan’s son to eat with him at his table.

As with any advocacy effort, The King’s Table Ministries runs into some challenges with their audience.

Gallagher says that “the most difficult thing to explain to them is the need for families and for children, and the fact that they’re a special image of Christ.”

To learn more about The King’s Table Ministries and how you can help, click here.

Gallagher says this is how you can pray: “Pray for protection from the evil one. When you’re moving a ministry like this, when you’re looking at a special image of Christ in their uniqueness, the spiritual attacks can be really heavy because he doesn’t want that to be able to move.”