Last week, our Key Ministry team enjoyed the opportunity of sharing and connecting with many of our colleagues involved with disability ministry at McLean Bible Church’s 2013 Accessibility Summit. In the aftermath of the meeting, we experienced great energy and enthusiasm among the leaders of other like-minded ministries for getting together on a more regular basis and working together to advance the “Movement” among churches to become more effective in welcoming and including persons with disabilities and their families.
In the coming weeks, we’re likely to have more discussion of the “how” of developing synergy between diverse ministry organizations. For now, I’ve been giving some thought to what Key Ministry can do to serve our colleagues in ministry in maintaining the energy resulting from the sense that God’s up to something really big. In the same way that we’ve been guided by a set of “Key Strategies” throughout our ten plus years of ministry, leaders in the disability ministry movement might identify and agree upon some common strategies for advancing larger Kingdom goals beyond the scope of the supports and services provided by our individual ministries. I’ll share some ideas about strategies we can all begin to pursue where we’re positioned right now…this is intended to be a starting point to spark discussion, and I’m posting the link to this post on the Special Needs and Disability Ministry Facebook Forum (“friend” me and send me a message if you’re not part of that group and would like to be invited) to encourage other ministry leaders to add their ideas and feedback.
Strategies for advancing the “Movement” among churches to become more effective at including persons with disabilities and their families…First Draft
Leaders and organizations seeking to honor God through ministry to families impacted by disability seek to…
- Be intentional in identifying and pursuing opportunities to collaborate with other like-minded leaders and organizations. Jesus meant for His followers to work together.
- Model a spirit of generosity in sharing ministry resources with other leaders and organizations. We don’t need to expend precious time, talent and resources reinventing the wheel when excellent ministry resources already exist.
- Welcome and include new leaders and ministries to the movement when there’s evidence the Holy Spirit is present in their work. Everyone gets to play!
- Use the communications tools available to our respective organizations to enhance the visibility of resources developed by other like-minded ministries.
- Commit to an “abundance mentality”…the success of one leader or ministry does not take away from other organizations. To paraphrase my teammate (Harmony Hensley)…We can compete with one another when every person in every family impacted by disability has come to know Jesus and is actively using their gifts and talents in a local church. Until then, there’s plenty of work for everyone to do.
- Agree to be “Kingdom builders”…as opposed to builders of individual kingdoms. It’s nice to be recognized as a leader in the church. Individual and organizational agendas need to work in support of God’s larger agenda.
- Identify and mentor the next generation of disability ministry leaders. The disciples were constantly working alongside and mentoring the leaders who would succeed them.
- Demonstrate a willingness to be accountable to one another and to hold one another accountable in accordance with principles outlined in Scripture.
- Establish the habit of offering prayer and encouragement for our like-minded colleagues in ministry. Disability ministry is hard work. When we serve the Kingdom in meaningful ways, we will invariably face adversity. We need one another.
What strategies should be added to the list? What should we take away? What’s stopping us from doing all of these things now?
Absolutely and AMEN! We are all about connecting, helping, co-laboring, and being inclusive! If you see how we can do that better, let us know! We want to say “yes” wherever and whenever we can! Joe and Cindi Ferrini
I love this list, too. These are things we can all actively do to reach more special needs families with hope. I’m open to any ideas others might have and eager to see what God will do.