Ability Tree Roots

Hey there!

Glad you found us online. Before I tell you what Ability Tree (AT) is all about let me share a little more about us and why we founded AT in the first place.
 
We’re a family of five. A mom, dad and three kiddos. We all have needs, but our son Micah has an official diagnosis (cerebral palsy, ASD, and epilepsy, if you're wondering) and he’s the reason the organization exists.

Here’s a little more of our story…

I vividly remember receiving the news of my son’s diagnosis from the neurologist some 20 years ago and it was not encouraging or hopeful.

Hearing the experts say that my son had “abnormalities in his brain”, that they didn’t know if he’d ever walk, talk in complete sentences, or one day be independent, was a hard pill to swallow.

Doctors aren’t in the business of handing out hope, they give out answers and honestly, when it comes to individuals with disabilities like my son, these are educated guesses at best.

It’s been quite a journey and the first few years were the most challenging. Micah has developed well beyond what we expected in those early years. He walked at the age of four and he’s been talking in sentences for a decade and a half!

Micah has blessed our entire family. He will always need someone to care for him and the benefits that come from being his dad far outweigh the personal costs of that care.

May I say something to all the parents of children with needs out there? Your child is a gift from God! Though you may not see it now, just keep going, loving them and getting to know them and one day you’ll see them as God does, made in His image.

Psalm 127 says children are a reward or gift from the Lord. We couldn’t agree more!

Before founding AT, Jen and I worked day jobs and served in our local church until we sensed a call from God to full-time ministry. After going back to school to get my Bible degree, we pastored for about five years. It was during those five years that individuals and families affected by disability looked to us for support and encouragement.

Walking through seasons of darkness, we watched as eventually, a dim light became ever brighter. More and more we intentionally engaged with those around us, and soon a community developed that could relate to our journey as a family.

During this time, my wife sensed God calling us to a new mission, one that came alongside families impacted by disability and connected them to community and Ability Tree was planted.
Since its founding in 2010, the AT family has grown to include thousands of families across the U.S., with five community locations and dozens of church partners.

We’ve developed a relational model of ministry to come alongside families like ours in the community. Additionally, we’ve created a variety of tools, resources, and opportunities for the local church to readily engage the disability community.

May I say something to the pastors and churches listening? Being prepared to welcome and include people with disability is no longer an option, it is an essential ministry for every church in every community. Families lives and souls are at stake.

We’re here to help you and your church make Jesus accessible!

Joe Butler

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