For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
Luke 19:10 (ESV)
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8 (ESV)
Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know, and a nation that did not know you shall run to you, because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you.
Isaiah 55:5-6 (ESV)
In my line of work, I talk to lots of teens. One of the desires of most teens is for someone to see them as they really are and pursue them for who they are.
God pursues us. We can’t find him on our own. He continues in this day and age to pursue all of us.
At this time of year, our focus is very much on Christmas and the Christmas story. Jesus came to Earth to “dwell among us” and to die for us in order to make it possible for us to be with Him forever.
I’ve spoken or corresponded with two ministry leaders during this past week looking for help in convincing other leaders that online technology can and will have a meaningful role in helping families of kids with disabilities to experience Christian community. To many, our plans for an online campus to connect churches with families impacted by disability seem (for lack of a better term) crazy. But if we’re crazy, it’s a good kind of crazy.
After all, if God would send his Son to be born in a manger into a humble family in first century Palestine in pursuit of us, why would it represent such a great leap to think He would want to use the technology of the day to continue His pursuit of each and every one of us?
Kids with disabilities, their siblings, and their families generally don’t experience the sense of being pursued. They’re not the first ones picked for teams on the playground. They’re not the kids who get invited to sleepovers or “play dates”. They’re not the recipients of the increasingly grandiose (and public) invitations to attend the prom. We’re going to help churches pursue them…and allow them to experience what it’s like to be pursued.
One place where kids with disabilities and their families are available to be pursued is on the Internet. We’ll pursue parents by offering respite care. We’ll pursue teens through inviting them to worship online…and give them the tools to pursue their friends. It’s not so crazy. We’ll invite their parents to worship services and small groups and Bible studies online…and then invite them to worship in the physical presence of other Christ-followers.
What we really do at Key Ministry is offer churches tools to pursue kids with disabilities and their families.
In pondering this, a certain iconic scene from a movie of my generation came to mind. Lloyd Dobler (played by John Cusack) was using technology to pursue the girl of his dreams (Diane Court, played by Ione Skye). John used the technology of his time to assist him in his pursuit. Here’s the trailer for Say Anything.
Can you help us to help churches pursue kids with disabilities and their families? For this year’s Key Ministry Online Campaign, we’re asking our friends not for money, but to share our ministry’s Facebook page with others who share interest in our mission. Here’s more on how you can help.
This is brilliant! :o)
Thanks for the kind words, Ann!
Steve – I think it is wonderful that you guys are pursuing using technology to reach the disability community for Christ. If you reach even one person then it is worth it all. One thought is that most people living with disabilities have less access to technology and the internet than the rest of the world. I know with our events we have online registration as well by phone. The majority of the participants call and the majority of the volunteers register on line. Beyond this a large portion of the participants don’t have e-mail addresses or internet access. I think the fact that they are financially stressed often plays into this fact that they can’t afford the equipment or the service. Thanks for all you guys do!
You raised some good points. I’m online now looking for some statistics on this…part of our presumption is that access to technology is less of an issue for kids with disabilities because of the ways schools are incorporating tablets and computers into special ed interventions.
Here’s an interesting study…
The data is likely skewed because invitations to families to participate in the study were sent electronically to participating organizations, but 96% of parents of kids with disabilities had access to the Internet and all but one accessed the Web to obtain resources and information to help their child. I’m going to search this out a little further, but from what I see in my practice (somewhat skewed socioeconomically), I can’t think of a family we serve regardless of income that doesn’t have access to and regularly use the Internet.
Hi Steve – Thanks for the follow-up. I do agree that some families living with disabilities do use the internet and technology but probably the two examples you shared are as you mentioned skewed a bit socioeconomically. It would be interesting to do a bit more research on this and also define the use of internet access. Are they going to the library? Do they get e-mail on their phone? What kind of internet speed, etc. All of this would effect their use. Also, the fact they you guys probably target families with children who have disabilities are more likely to have some type of online connection than individuals with disabilities who may not have that same family support. Lots of factors and things to think about.
This is just one of the reasons why reaching people with disabilities is so difficult, as there is such a wide variety of disabilities, family settings and socioeconomic status. And, it is a reminder of how important all of the different ministries and their roles are in meeting this challenge just like the need for different types of churches.
By the way, just noticed as I was typing my reply that Access-Life if not on your Ministry Like list. Would you consider adding us? We like you and have you listed as a resource on our webpage. 🙂
Appreciate your thoughts and all you do in ministry!
Happy to add Access-Life to our list of Ministries We Like. You guys go great work!
In general, adults with disabilities are somewhat less likely to have access to the internet compared to the general population (age and income contribute to this trend), but lots of them still have access, and the numbers grow by the day. Households with children are more likely to have internet access across the entire economic spectrum. In fact, 83% of all house holds with children have access to a computer, and 60% can access the internet at home…
Click to access p20-569.pdf