Meet Courtney Todd
By LORETTA FULTON
Pioneer Drive Baptist Church’s new ministry for families with special needs children is up and running with the selection of Courtney Todd as director.
Todd previously served as the preschool minister for another Baptist church in the Abilene area. She started her new position as director of Embrace Ministry Oct. 2.
“I am very grateful to step into this role and began serving the families of Pioneer Drive,” she said. “I am excited to watch this ministry take its first steps and begin to flourish and serve our community.”
Todd’s husband, Dustin, is a teacher and coach in the Jim Ned school district. They have two children, Kellan, 11, and Charlee, 8.
The program started with a few families within the church but will expand to the community in 2023. Programming will be offered on Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings. Respite care will be offered quarterly.
Pioneer Drive Baptist Church received a grant in 2019 to start Embrace Ministry. It will be fully funded for the next two and a half years and then a decision will be made on whether to add the program to the church budget.
“We are looking for people that have a heart to serve with our special needs children,” Todd said, “and they can contact me at email@example.com.
Q&A with Courtney Todd
Q Are you a new member of Pioneer Drive or were you already a member when you were named director of the Embrace Ministry?
A I am a new member of Pioneer Drive. We attended a different Baptist church in the Big Country before making Pioneer Drive our home.
Q What are your qualifications for this position, such as education and experience in the field?
A I have a background in special needs education, working at different elementary schools in a preschool special needs class. I have served as an Early Childhood pastor for the past two years before stepping into this role. I have served in full-time ministry in different positions over the last seven years.
Q Do you have a personal interest in special needs children? That might be a family member or experience with special needs children.
A I have always had a heart for children with special needs since I was a young girl. I was involved in a buddy program that partnered traditional students with a special needs student throughout school, which then led me to pursue working as an assistant in Special Education classrooms. In 2019, my family welcomed four of my young cousins into our home, one being diagnosed with autism while she was living with us. My desire is to share in their joy and watch as they have a space to connect with the heart of the Father and experience the love of Jesus in their own way!
Q Will you work with special needs children who already are members of Pioneer Drive or will this be an outreach ministry?
A The ministry will serve both. We do have a few families already within our congregation that we are serving. We do plan on reaching out to the community in the new year with an “open” intake concept for visitors. The statistics show that one out of six people have a special needs person within their family. The statistics go even further to show that 90 percent of families with a special needs child do not have a church home. We will have a “go and seek” approach to this ministry once we have trained volunteers in place.
Q How do people sign up for the program?
A There will be an intake form on our website that is easily accessible for families to fill out prior to visiting Pioneer Drive.
Q What will this ministry look like? Will it be something offered on Sunday mornings during church or will you be working with special needs children during the week–or both?
A The ministry will be offered Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings. We want our families to be able to connect whenever we have anything going on our campus. We plan on offering Respite nights quarterly that will serve both special needs children and their siblings. The ministry will go beyond that by serving the families with needs outside our church walls, connecting them with other special needs families through Bible studies or support groups, and supporting them in anyway that we can.
Q Do you already have a “game plan” in place or is that something you will develop?
A This ministry has purposefully been prayed for since 2019. There is a team in place that has laid a foundation and plans for the first year of this ministry. I am thankful to step in and begin to implement their strategies and start to build a team of volunteers that have a heart to serve these families.
Q What are some immediate plans?
A We are preparing a “Sensory Room” for our ministry that will be the main room for our children who can’t participate in a traditional Sunday school class setting. We are looking to hire assistants for the ministry that will be one on one with our inclusion children. We are continuing to minister to the families that are already connected to our church body but preparing the intake process for new special needs families to visit our church!