Special Needs

Our mission is to lovingly share Christ with God's unique individuals, both children and adults, to grow them spiritually, and provide them with opportunities to serve and be served. It is the desire of the ministry to be a lighthouse of hope, acceptance and belonging for individuals with special needs and their families, so they may experience the love of Jesus and excel to their greatest potential, becoming all God desires them to be.

Check out this news report from AZ Family on our ministry!


Volunteers provide a safe and loving atmosphere for children and adults with special needs to learn and experience the love of Jesus Christ. Volunteers assist individuals with any extra help needed within regular Sunday School classrooms or worship services, and a self-contained classroom is also available with trained volunteers for direct one to one attention.

Highlands' Special Needs Ministry team is available for both the 9:00am and 10:45am service times as well as most special church-wide events - contact  with any questions. 

Cowboy Sunday

We are thrilled to be partnering with Reigning Grace Ranch to bring horseback riding to our community! Cowboy Sunday will occur once a month from 1:00-3:00pm. We will provide barbecue, horseback riding, fellowship, and community to individuals with special needs and their families. If you are interested in attending a Cowboy Sunday, please register for one Sunday. Once you have registered, you will receive a confirmation email with more information. 

If you are interested in attending a Cowboy Sunday, click on a date below to register! Please only register for one Sunday. 

We also need volunteers for Cowboy Sunday! If you are interested in helping our friends with special needs ride horses, register below!

All volunteers must attend a volunteer training session. The training session information is listed below:

  • Thursday, Oct 4th 6:30-8:30pm @ Reigning Grace Ranch-Horse Experience required - Lead training
  • Sunday Oct 7th 12:30-2:30pm @ Highlands - No horse experience required - Side walk training. (Horse on Campus)


Questions? Contact Kelsey Ankrom at .

Christmas Party
Saturday, December 1 | 1:00-4:00pm

Our annual Christmas Party for individuals with special needs is an awesome opportunity for people of all ages to experience the love and joy of Christmas. All individuals with special needs are invited to attend this community event. You don't have to be a member of Highlands, and the event is FREE!

Join us or a full afternoon of games, music, crafts, activities, food...and yes, even Santa! Our team of volunteers ensure that all party-goers receive the very best individual attention and care.

To register an individual with special needs, use the button below!


We need several volunteers to help make this day a success! If you are able to serve at this event, use the button below to register as a volunteer!


The volunteer training session for the Christmas Party will be on Sunday, November 25th during second service in the Office Building Conference Room.

Night to Shine
February 8 | 6:00-9:00pm

Night to Shine is an unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God’s love, for people with special needs ages 14 and older.

The evening will be filled with a red carpet, photos, lights, music, dancing, food and fun for all involved. Night to Shine celebrates the uniqueness of each individual guest by providing an unforgettable night where they are welcomed, valued and loved. 


We need several loving volunteers to help be buddies, run stations, do makeovers, and so much more to make this night a success! If you are able to serve at this event, register as a volunteer below!


The volunteer training times for Night to Shine will happen on the following dates:

  • January 31st | 6:30-8:00pm | Junior High Room
  • February 2nd | 9:30-11:00am | Senior High Room
  • February 3rd | 12:30-2:00pm | Senior High Room

Please plan on attending one of these volunteer training meetings so that you are able to serve at the event.

Ongoing Programs

Parent Connect
1st Sunday of Each Month | 10:45am | Office Conference Room
This group is a time for parents and caregivers of individuals with special needs to come together and share the joys and challenges of the special needs journey. This group is facilitated by Dan and Monica Cluff, parents of an adult son with special needs. For more information, please contact Missy Farrington at  or call 602-820-3345. 

MidWeek Madness
Wednesdays 6:30-8:00pm during the school year
Bible lessons, games, crafts and social opportunities for children of all ages with special needs.


A fun group that brings people with and without special needs together as friends...period!  This peer group encourages Jr High and High School aged students to make a commitment to friendship, participating once a month on Sunday mornings and social activities throughout the year. For more information and to participate in the application process please contact Missy Farrington at 602-820-3345 or

  • August 26th at 12:00pm - training for Junior High and High School Friends.
  • September 9th at 10:45am - Kickoff for Friends.
  • September 30th - Social Event TBD.
  • March 31st - Social Event TBD.

Wednesday Night Friendship Group
6:30-8:00pm Wednesdays
Our teens and adults with special needs will meet every Wednesday to socialize and have a Bible Study.


Offered quarterly, respite is an opportunity for parents to bring their children with special needs to Highlands for a fun-filled event so parents can have an evening to themselves. Reservations are required - contact  .

Our Staff

Our director, Missy Farrington, has a Master's Degree in Special Education and a certificate in Disability Ministry. We have many other professionals volunteering in our ministry as well. Our loving volunteers are trained by Missy and other special education professionals.  Contact Missy at  

Helpful Forms

Highlands is an Irresistible Church

Our partners at Joni & Friends of Arizona define an irresistible church as an authentic community built on the hope of Christ that compels people affected by disability to fully belong. If you have a special need or care for someone who does, come find out why the irresistible Special Needs ministry of Highlands can make a life-changing difference!


Missy Farrington, Director of Special Needs