Welcome to Season 2 of the Accessible church Podcast! Today, our guest is Vinnie Adams, the director of the Reflectors Special Needs Ministry at Faith Church in Dyer, IN. Vinnie and I talked about how effective it is to focus on common ground when building a disability ministry.
Notes from the show:
- Not many churches have a director of disability ministries. As the question comes up of why have the ministry and why have someone run that ministry, you could ask the same question of any ministry.
- We don’t do well at disciplining people with disabilities. They learn and experience things differently and uniquely. We want to get the gospel to them in a way that is applicable and real, the same way we do to teens and children.
- “Universal design benefits everyone.” Barb Newman
- Disability Ministry is by nature an outreach ministry.
- Disability ministry needs to be all encompassing and not just for the children. Adults and teens bring a unique gift mix, they are able to use their gifts and serve.
- Disability ministry allows all people to serve as part of the Body and play their in their congregation.
There is a pandering attitude towards adults with disabilities, even when the adults are serving well and taking their place in the Body of Christ.
Integration and discipleship are the two goals in Vinnie’s church.
Disability ministry is relationship driven.
Creating space for intentional and meaningful relationship.
People with disabilities have great gifts to bring to the church. There are no facades.
Getting a Disability Ministry Going
- To get a disability ministry going first you need to spend time in prayer. “We don’t pray before we work, prayer is the work, then God moves.”
- Asses your congregation and the building structure.
- Create a team.
- Disciplining the congregation, continuous teaching about disability, teaching the 5 stages.
It takes advocacy, work, and intentionality. Disciplining and training the congregation is an ongoing process.
We as a congregation should become so used to welcoming people with disabilities in our midst that we do not need a separate ministry.
My favorite part of the podcast was when Vinnie shared the difference when a church was asked to serve as opposed to being asked to connect with people based on a focus on common ground, this is what happened:
The pastor announced, “If you are a male and have interest in serving people with disabilities, please stay after the service.” Nobody came. The next time around the pastor said, “If you are male and you love the Green Bay Packers, please stay after the service.” Many men came, then to those men the pastor said, “We have a group home with men with developmental disabilities and they love the Green Bay, would any of you be willing to go watch the game?” Most people came and profound connections were made.
Connections were made starting with a bond, focusing on common ground, and starting there.
When thinking about disability ministry, and because disability ministry is about relationship, perhaps we need to rethink how we promote the opportunity. It is not so much about serving, as it is about making connections with other people.
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Latest posts by Ellen Stumbo (see all)
- How to Interact with Kids with Disabilties - January 2, 2017
- Episode 17: Disability Ministry Is Not An Elective - November 3, 2016
- Episode 16: Small Churches Can Do Disability Ministry Too [Podcast] - October 27, 2016