Today’s guest is Dan Vander Plaats, the creator of The 5 Stages, which we discuss in today’s show. He is also the Director of Advancement at Elim Christian Services, where he focuses on equipping people with disabilities to answer God’s call on their lives.
From the show:
Dan Vander Plaats and Ellen Stumbo talk about each of the 5 Stages.
Dan has a minor disability (a paralyzed vocal chord) and throughout his life people made assumptions about how disabled he was and it affected how people treated him. His experience is what led him to create the 5 Stages.
The pity Stage is the stage most people with disabilities experience, and it was the stage that started the 5 Stages.
Many churches are successful at Stage 3: Care, but often times it is hard to move to Stage 4: Friendship and Stage 5: Co-laborers.
Having people with disabilities could mean they need support in order to be co-laborers, but their gifts and talents are vital for the Body of Christ to function fully.
From the handout:
Stage 1: Ignorance
Weaknesses and Disability are a sign that either God does not care or is not able to fix the situation. In fact, they may be a result of sin or a lack of faith. God is not involved in the life of someone with a disability, because He can’t use people who are so broken. I do not know people with disabilities, nor do I know anything about disabilities. I have no interest in getting to know them or to know more about their life.
Stage 2: Pity
I feel sorry for people with disabilities. It’s too bad, really. I am blessed by God and can help others. I am grateful that my children are not disabled. People with weaknesses and disabilities obviously need someone like me to help them and give them meaning, due to their troubles. I really don;t see any meaning or purpose to their lives.
Stage 3: Care
Like me, people with disabilities were created in God’s image. by that virtue alone they have value. I hope that someone will take the time to show them God’s love, and I will happily support such an effort. In fact, I think we need to fund ways to help those people. maybe we should start a special church education class, or respite care for the sake of the parents.
Stage 4: Friendship
I have come to know and spend tune with a friend who has a disability. This person has value in God’s sight, but also in mine, and I know that my life is better for having known this person, and as much as I have helped her, she has also blessed me. In fact, I now like to initiate relationships with people who have disabilities. God brings many different people into mu church and community, including people with disabilities, and we all benefit as we grow in friendship with each other.
Stage 5: Co-laborers
If God has called each of us to serve and praise Him with every fiber of our beings, then He has done the same for our brothers and sisters in Christ with disabilities. I think ministry should not just be to people with disabilities, but with or alongside people who have disabilities. Together, we will encourage and equip each other, with and without disabilities, into every good work to respond to God’s call in our lives. We can all give and we can all receive.
FREE resources for you:
The 5 Stages handout and reflection questions PDF: Download The 5 Stages with Reflections PDF.
There Is No Asterisk: Changing Attitudes About Disabilities Through The 5 Stages by Dan Vader Plaats
(The 5 Stages ebook) Download There Is No Asterisk Ebook.
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Listen to the show:
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