FUSION is the disability ministry at Good Shepherd. Our mission is to reach and serve families impacted by disabilities and create an environment for them to discover and embrace a relationship with Jesus Christ.

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Disability Support In Children and Student Ministries
Our goal is for all children and students to be able to successfully participate in all ministries with their peers. Based on each child’s individual needs, we provide:
  • One-on-one buddies
  • Coordination with staff and small group leaders
  • Accommodations (visual schedules, fidgets, etc.)
  • Self-contained sensory room
These supports are available in all children and student ministry opportunities and special events. If you have any questions, please click the “Email Leader” button below. CURRENT CHILDREN'S MINISTRIES REGISTRATION FORMS AND UPDATES CURRENT STUDENT REGISTRATION FORMS AND UPDATES
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Fusion Buddies Serving One-on-One

What is Fusion?

Fusion supports our children, students, and young adult ministries by providing one-on-one support! In addition, we host Buddy Break monthly on Saturdays. This is a time of respite for families who have been impacted by disabilities. If you have a passion for children and/or adults with special needs and are interested in joining one of our teams, please fill out a leader registration form. We would love to have you!
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Respite Care Buddy Break
https://youtu.be/B_zN1b1YlLA Buddy Break is a monthly, respite opportunity for children with disabilities and their siblings provided at no charge. At Buddy Break, all children are intentionally paired up one-on-one with a trained buddy. We play games, do projects, play in the gym, and have a lot of fun—all while parents and caregivers get a well-deserved break. This program is sponsored by Nathaniel’s Hope, an organization that supports Buddy Breaks in congregations across the country. After registering on their website, families have the opportunity to take their children to any Buddy Break—whether local or while out of town on vacation!
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Light Up the Night Friday, April 14

Friday, April 14 | 6 - 9 PM

Light Up the Night is a spectacular red-carpet, dinner-dance experience for those ages 14 and up with disabilities. This event will take place at Good Shepherd Church. Join us for this special event where our guests will "Light Up The Night!" and experience the joy that is being a son or daughter of Jesus. Guests will experience the full VIP treatment at Light Up the Night. All guests will walk the red carpet, dine with their Buddy, join in on karaoke fun, and dance the night away! Parents, we welcome you to be with us. We will host parents in Room 5! Register for Light Up the Night! Additionally, we are looking for a BIG TEAM of volunteers to make this event a huge success. Learn more about ways to serve at Light Up the Night online. Questions about registration or how to get involved? We invite you to connect with Danielle Schaeffer, our Disability Ministry Director.
New to Good Shepherd? Learn more about our Disability Ministry.
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Meet the Team Fusion - Disability Ministry

Danielle Schaeffer

Disability Ministry Director


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I graduated from Concordia University in St. Paul, MN with a degree in Children and Youth Ministry. I've worked in churches in MN, FL, MI, and now here at Good Shepherd where I serve as the Director of Fusion - Disability Ministry. I've felt a calling from God to serve his Church since I was in high school, and so I pursued youth ministry, serving as a family ministry leader for nine years. My eyes were opened to the world of disabilities in July 2009 with the birth of my beautiful, hilarious, and loving son, Nathanael. Before Nathanael, I knew about disabilities, that they existed, and I assumed life was harder, different, for ‘them’. But honestly, not much in my life was affected by disabilities, and unfortunately, I paid little attention. After Nathanael, I’m learning more and more, every day, mostly through his eyes, his feet, his words, and his world. When we moved to Naperville, we became connected with Good Shepherd Church after learning they have an amazing ministry that serves families like mine. Since the summer of 2013, I’ve been serving as the Director of Fusion and I’m still learning about ‘us,’ the body of Christ, and each one of its precious parts, handmade in the image of God. When I'm not at Good Shepherd, you can either find Nathanael and I eating at Fat Rosie's in downtown Naperville or taking walks around the Riverwalk.  

Audrey Gerhard

Disability Ministry Coordinator


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I grew up going to church from a young age, but really took ownership of my faith as a teen. For the first time, I saw people my age really living out their faith, and I had several mentors pour into me and show me what that would look like for me. God has been so good to me throughout my life, as I’ve walked through challenges as an adult I’ve seen His hand of protection and mercy in ways I never could have imagined. I was pursuing a career working with kids with special needs, but when I graduated college decided not to go to grad school right away. I was praying about what that meant for my next steps and had been attending Young Adult Ministries at Good Shepherd. A friend there told me about the opening in the Fusion Ministry, and the rest is history! I grew up going to smaller churches that did not have a disability ministry, so it’s not something I ever would have thought to look into, God really provided at the right time. My hope is that Fusion would be a bridge for our families to be included and welcomed in every area and ministry of Good Shepherd. Every person is made in the image of God, and God desires a relationship with them! Our goal in everything we do in Fusion is to create an environment for each individual to grow in their relationship with Christ.  
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