Joni Eareckson Tada did a fabulous job of setting the tone for this year’s Inclusion Fusion Web Summit in her keynote presentation. She cast a compelling vision for the disability ministry movement…one that transitions away from a “top-down, programmatic approach to ministry” to a grass-roots approach to ministry development.
Joni’s full vision for disability ministry will be on display at the Global Access Conference 2015, to be held this coming February 17-20 at Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village, CA.
The purpose of the Global Access Conference is to bring together disability leaders, ministers, educators and practitioners from around the world. It’s an unprecedented opportunity to share experiences, forge strong working relationships, and learn how to practically and effectively promote disability ministry in the Christian community. Attendees will learn how to create and pursue advanced disability initiatives within church and cultural communities, and will build lasting networks of support and education throughout the international disability community.
The three primary objectives of the conference are…
Equip leaders with practical knowledge and effective tools for disability ministry.
Engage attendees in a supportive global network of disability ministry leaders, advocates, and academics.
Encourage the body of Christ for ministry to and through people with disabilities.
Understand the person and work of Christ in His historical setting, and consider the implications of Christ’s ministry as it applies to evangelizing people affected by disability.
Explore and identify the Christian church’s responsibilities in areas of disability ministry and leadership.
Develop an understanding of the Christian church’s role as a leader for disability advocacy and empowerment in the wider cultural and social communities in which it operates.
I’m very much looking forward to attending the conference…and serving as a presenter. I’m honored to have the opportunity to lead a workshop…Including Kids and Teens With Mental Illness in the Church and Community. I’ll also be leading a roundtable discussion on the theme of why ministry to kids with mental illness is necessary and biblical.
In my talk, I plan to discuss how the church can do a better job reaching out to, and including kids and teens with mental illness and their families into the church. Mental illness represents (by far and away) the most common category of disabling conditions impacting kids and teens in the U.S. For many, the environments in which we “do church” present subtle, but very real barriers to participation and their families. Existing disability or “special needs” ministries typically don’t serve kids with mental illness in the absence of significant intellectual disability. I’ll discuss Key Ministry’s experiments with alternative ministry strategies and models to help churches effectively share the love of Christ with families of kids with “hidden disabilities.”
Followers of this blog and Key Ministry will recognize many familiar names on the program. In addition to Joni, speakers will include Jeff McNair, Amy Simpson, Emily Colson, Cameron Doolittle, Ryan Wolfe and Christen Morrow-Ara.
Recognizing that most leaders serving in the field of disability ministry have limited resources for training and travel, this is one event I’d very much encourage everyone to try to attend in person. Global Access is (by far and away) the most comprehensive conference I’ve ever come across. While we love to leverage technology to grow our capacity to impact the disability ministry movement, there’s something about the ability to worship, to learn and to enjoy fellowship in the physical presence of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Online registration for Global Access is easy and convenient. I’d encourage all of you to check out the fabulous website the team at Joni and Friends assembled for the conference. I’m especially envious (in a good way) of the registry of speakers and attendees that greatly facilitates the ability of everyone attending Global Access to fully connect and interact with one another.
Here’s a sneak peek at what you might expect from Joni and some of her friends at Global Access. Click on Joni’s picture to go to the YouTube video…
I’m hopeful of meeting “in the flesh” many leaders in the field of disability ministry who I’ve only had the pleasure of experiencing “electronically,” along with many friends of Key Ministry this coming February 17-20 at Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village, CA. See you there!
Key Ministry is pleased to invite you to check out our new website. Over 180 downloadable resources are available to pastors, church staff and volunteers seeking to serve kids with disabilities and their families, including all Inclusion Fusion presentations from our first two Web Summits are available with FREE registration. Check out keyministry.org today and share the link with others interested in welcoming kids with disabilities and their families at church.