Workshops and Training Topics

We combine our more than 35 years of expertise in special education and our passion for inclusion to help persons of all abilities worship God together. The workshop and training topics listed in this catalog vary in length and are customized to fit your needs. From a one-hour training to a weekend retreat, from a gathering of key leaders to a weekend that includes a larger conference, we look forward to partnering with you to provide training, consultation, and/or observation services.

Download a copy of the catalog: CLC Network Church Presentation Catalog

Three Steps to Plan a CLC Network Training

#1: Consider Your Community

  • What age group do you want to benefit from this training? (Children? Youth? Adults? One or more age group?)
  • What church setting do you want to benefit from this training? (Corporate worship? Children’s ministry? Adult small group? Other settings?)
  • What tools and people do you already have in place?
  • What tools and people are missing?
  • What is your biggest question right now?

#2: Gather Ideas

Browse the following topics to see if one or more of these topics meet the needs of your community. Note that these workshop and training topics vary in length and are customized to fit the needs of each setting and community where they are conducted.

#3: Contact Us

Contact Tory White, CLC Network church services coordinator, at twhite@clcnetwork.org, or call our office at (616) 245-8388 to begin planning a training, workshop, or consultation for your faith community.

Suggested Workshop and Training Topics

Specific Disabilities and Strategies

With 1 in 68 children being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), it is likely that your church already includes someone with ASD. If you are a ministry leader, church school teacher, or church volunteer, discover specific ways to identify, interact with, and teach those with ASD. Using six key areas of difference, this session will take several best practices in special education and apply them to a church setting. Leave with a tool box full of new ideas to try starting next week!

Discover what AD/HD is and is not. Learn how AD/HD affects the church environment and things to consider when planning church services and programming. Learn strategies and tools to make the faith community a place of growth for individuals with AD/HD and everyone in your congregation.

In this workshop, learn about seven of the sensory systems and how they may vary in different individuals. Learn how variation in sensory processing translates into behaviors and needs, and what tools and adaptations to consider in the church environment for individuals who process the sensations around them differently.

In the church environment, we communicate not only with one another, but also with God in worship, prayer, and service. In a church setting, this communication seems to center on using words. For those without words, however, there should be alternate ways to communicate. Discover practical non-verbal strategies to use with individuals participating in worship, transitions, new environments, and more.

This very practical session begins with God’s design for each person and will then allow participants to understand many areas of disability such as AD/HD, struggling readers and writers, autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, sensory processing disorder and more. Each explanation is supported with multiple practical ideas to try when including individuals in a church setting. Consider coming with a team from your church so you can leave with an action plan ready to go for the next day.

Tory White speaking

Behavior Management and Tools for Leaders, Volunteers, and Peers

This session will equip church volunteers, leaders, and parents with multiple tools to support individuals with unique behavior needs. While we will cover some strategies for including individuals with intense behavior needs, participants will leave with a framework to use when interacting with all individuals in their home or church settings.

Have you ever opened up your behavior management idea cupboard with a challenging student and discovered you have very few ideas left to try? If that cupboard is running empty with students who present unique behavioral, emotional, and social challenges, come to this session for some serious restocking. While perhaps not each idea will be new to you, you will discover many new options for children preschool through late teens.

Understanding which tools to apply at the appropriate time is important to successful learning. Find out which options work for specific needs, whether electronics are the best option, and when to remember some older tricks, so that everyone can worship, learn, and participate in your faith and/or school community.

With some modifications, teachers, volunteers, and mentors can implement low-cost tools to best support children and youth who struggle with attention, interpreting sensory input, and reading and writing. With the proper supports in place, you can enable them to experience the full life of your church and allow them to utilize their gifts.

It is so much easier to install the elevator when you are constructing the building than to install it later on! That concept is also true for Sunday school. Discover some important processes, equipment, and tools to build into your religious education program from the beginning so that each participant experiences a place of welcome, safety, and learning.

Faith Formation

Begin by considering the gifts, interests, and needs of your friend with a disability. Equipped with an understanding of a person with a disability, learn how to take that knowledge and use it to create an environment where you can introduce that person to Jesus.

Explore how to use the Vertical Habits framework (developed by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship) to foster faith formation among everyone in your community through creating an accessible language in worship. We will also cover how to create multi-sensory worship options so all can participate in your congregation. This topic also speaks into intergenerational and multi-cultural worship environments.

Inclusion in Your Church Community

The most important and powerful key to including children and adults with disabilities is giving God-honoring information to peers and volunteers. Learn practical strategies for preparing your congregation to eagerly receive those with disabilities into the body of Christ.

“How do we do this?” is a question many churches ask when hoping to better include children and adults with disabilities. Whether that is a child with Down syndrome, an adult with autism spectrum disorder, a teen with AD/HD, or a senior with Alzheimer’s disease, the G.L.U.E. (Giving, Loving, Understanding and Encouraging) process can help!

You will learn to construct a tailored plan that addresses the individual with the disability and also highlights the needed steps for the entire congregation or peer group so they can best receive that individual. You will leave with many practical, useful tools and ideas, as well as a network of resources and organizations that can continue to support you in your community.

You will hear how some churches across North America are including persons with disabilities. These successes and failures will highlight important principles as you seek to build or improve the welcome your church extends. Leave with new confidence and a specific plan for your congregation.

Learn how disability impacts a family and how your faith community can offer support. Beginning with the timing of the child’s diagnosis through unique transition points in the life of a family, we will discuss effective ways the church can interact with and encourage the family, discovering what kinds of support they most need.

Navigating ministry with persons with disabilities includes coming alongside caregivers. Oftentimes, a caregiver is an individual’s parent, though this role can also extend to adult children or the spouse of an individual. The biggest question caregivers find themselves asking is, “How can I be an effective caregiver when I am running on empty myself?” During this presentation, we will discuss supports the church can put into place, explore ideas and tools for caregivers to try, and share hope for everyone on the journey.