One of the main challenges churches face within their ministries is to find enough volunteers, or people trained to meet specific needs. But what if the relationship between church and disability was not about a program but about an organic way of doing church?
The focus of Disability Matters is to encourage every church to embrace disability. It is not about a program, or a new ministry, but a way for people at church to do life together. Our model is based on a model of inclusion.
So how do we bring about this change?
- Working on creating a vulnerable community, and pressing on the idea of “doing life together.” What does it mean? What does it look like? How do we include those with disabilities? Minority groups? The single parents? How do we make people walking through our doors feel like they belong?
- Establishing small groups – this is a great way to create the organic way of doing church. A small group becomes the basis of function within the church. It is a great solution for smaller churches.
Many churches have an established small group ministry. What if every small group purposefully included one or two families impacted by disability? What if the small group became a group of people that chooses to do life together? To support one another? To grieve or celebrate together? To encourage each member?
Disability Matters promotes churches to utilize their small groups to include disability as an organic part of every church, with the belief and understanding that we are all valuable members of the Body of Christ.
How does the small group model look like when it comes to disability?
- We encourage every small group to go through The 5 Stages in order to journey through the different disability attitudes. Not everyone has the same belief or attitude towards disability, yet we are all part of the body of Christ, we need each other, we all have something to give and we all take. What is God’s good design in disability?
- Purposefully including one or two adults or families impacted by disability in each small group. Creating a vulnerable community within each small group, where we actually do life together. A small group willing to become a family, where we journey together through life, where we share times of joy, celebration, pain.
Within the small group we find the helpers or “buddies” for the children with disabilities. Perhaps one of the teenagers in the small group is the perfect helper for the child with Down syndrome, whom they have gotten to know outside of church as part of their small group. Perhaps the woman with multiple sclerosis hosts a women’s night out, and her small group friends help her with small tasks around her house that she is now unable to do because of her weakening muscles and lack of energy, all while laughing or sharing stories about life.
Life is messy, whether you are impacted by disability or not. We all long to have meaningful friendships and relationships where we can be real. Where we can show our brokenness, where we can be vulnerable. What a beautiful picture to see a church that invests in those relationships. A church where people really do life together, and where disability is a normal part of life.