Home Church: Briarwood PCA
City/State: Birmingham, Alabama
Joel received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Samford University, where he met his wife, Holly. They have been members of Briarwood Presbyterian for almost 30 years, serving 18 of those years on the staff of the original Campus Outreach ministry. Joel’s roles included Administrator, Missionary Team Leader in Japan, and Director of the Campus Outreach International Network, the mission sending agency of CO. In 2006, Joel became the first full-time director of Briarwood’s special needs ministry. In 2011, Joel accepted a call to join the staff of MNA Special Needs Ministries as Associate Director. Joel and Holly have a daughter in college and a son in high school.
Why are you passionate about disability ministry?
Our family lives with the disabling effects of Autism Spectrum Disorder and Bipolar Disorder. Our closest friends are families who have a parent or child with a disability, covering every category of disability. We have experienced first-hand, and along with our friends, the loving, caring congregational ministry to families touched by disability. We deeply appreciate the commitment of the local body of Christ to families like ours and want to see that in congregations everywhere.
What topics in the arena of special needs ministry are of most interest to you?
Autism Spectrum Disorder, Asperger Syndrome, mental health, ministry volunteers, curriculum development
What is your heartfelt prayer for our churches, when it comes to special needs ministry?
My prayer is from Philippians 1:9-11, specifically applied to special needs ministry: “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight into the lives of people touched by disability, so that you may be able to discern what is best in showing equal concern to everyone, so that all may be made pure and blameless for the day of Christ, everyone filled with the fruit of righteousness that only comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God!”
Dark chocolate. There is no problem that can’t be made better by chocolate.
The Pursuit of God (A. W. Tozer)
The future is as bright as the promises of God. (Adoniram Judson)