Special Needs Ministry

We provide a safe space

Our mission in the Special Needs Ministry is to make and mature followers of Jesus Christ within our community of people with special needs.

First Presbyterian Church is dedicated to working with families who include individuals with special needs.

We have multiple programs that fall under the umbrella of our special needs ministry, and we are constantly looking for ways to expand this important avenue to share God's love. In addition to specific programming, we also include our friends with special needs in worship, Children’s Ministry activities, and VBS.

Our special needs ministry is designed for children, teens, and adults who struggle with:

  • Developmental delays
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Other special needs

FPC has been certified an autism friendly business by the Center for Autism & Related Disabilities (CARD).


Join Us


shine on class for special needs at first presbyterian church

(Teens and Adults With Disabilities)


Wednesdays 6:00 - 7:30 PM

Join older teens and adults with different abilities to sing, pray, and study the Bible together. Contact Libby Chappell lchappell@fpclakeland.org for more information.

Shine On will be taking a break for the summer after May 17 and will resume in the fall.

Programs & Events

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    Mini Miracles

    A program for children with special needs 
    We understand that it can be challenging to attend services when there is concern about the care for children with special needs. We provide a safe space in which children with special needs can be content and challenged while families enjoy time in worship. Children in our Mini Miracles program meet during the 10:30 AM worship hour on Sunday.  With support, children with special needs are included in all children's ministry activities.

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    Buddy Break

    A program for children with special needs 
    Buddy Break is part Nathaniel's Hope. Buddy Break is a free respite program held one Saturday a month during the school year for parents and caregivers of children with special needs. Trained volunteers provide a safe and fun time for kids to make new friends, play games, and listen to music, giving parents and caregivers a break from their ongoing responsibilities. This program continues to grow, and we are thrilled to be adding more students and volunteers all the time.

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    Night to Shine

    An annual event for people with special needs ages 14 and older

    Night to Shine is a special prom night experience in connection with the Tim Tebow Foundation and the community. This one-of-a-kind event provides our guests with special needs an unforgettable evening with music, photos, refreshments, and more. Guests are escorted down a red carpet, have their photographs taken, dance to favorite songs, eat snacks, and enjoy fellowship and fun. Caregivers are welcome to stay and watch the event on the screen in the parent room. Night to Shine is a wonderful evening for our community of friends with special needs and the volunteers who make the event possible.


For more information, email lchappell@fpclakeland.org or call the church at (863) 686-7187.

Who We Are

The mission of First Presbyterian Church is to make and mature disciples for Jesus Christ.

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