Parents and Family

The Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Ministry can connect you with WELS members and resources to assist you as you seek the spiritual well-being of your family members or neighbors with special needs.  If you click on the titles of each of the paragraphs below, you will find more information to help you or those you care about.

Light for Parents
WELS parents who have raised children with extraordinary challenges have formed an IDMM ministry to pass on the blessings God gave them as they tended their families. They offer guidance for congregation members who want to help but are uncertain what to do . . .

He Cares/We Care
Many developmentally disabled children and adults experience a lot of isolation.  He Cares/We Care mails cards and Christian letters to those who are developmentally disabled.  You can register someone with a developmental disability by using the referral form.

New Friends
New Friends, a Christian-based friendship network that is part of Jesus Cares Ministries, a ministry of WELS Kingdom Workers, connects teens and college students with families who have special needs children. Its purpose is to build relationships by focusing on abilities and not disabilities and to create a fun-filled atmosphere the entire family can come and enjoy.

Summer Camps

Every summer, several WELS camps offer special programs for people with special needs. These WELS camps are designed for people with developmental disabilities:

  • Camp Phillip, Wautoma, WI has changed the name of their camp for individuals with special needs to Jesus Shines Camp. All the information for that camp is available here
  • Camp BASIC (Brothers And Sisters In Christ) is for persons age 10 and older with moderate developmental disabilities. Offered twice, the second and the third week in June. Learn more at
  • Joy in Jesus retreats in Minnesota (for those 18 and older) are held in September and October. Learn more at
  • Special Needs Family Camp at Camp Shiloh in Texas will be held April 25-27, 2025 and April 24-26, 2026. More information will be shared as those dates get closer.

“Give Me a Break” webinars for parents
Parents and families of children with special needs often need special spiritual support. We have prepared some webinars for parents on the subjects of enjoying the child God has given you, understanding clinical problems that might occur from a difficult parenting situation, and some encouraging tips for managing your time when pressed for time.

More WELS Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Ministry resources are available on the WELS Resource Center.