A shocking statistic…

When we were registering our 541 registered attendees for the Inclusion Fusion Web Summit, we included a series of questions to ascertain the interests and experiences of our attendees. I’ll share some interesting things we learned about the people who sign up to do an online disability ministry conference, but one statistic jumped off the page at me.

Among those who registered in advance, we asked the following question:

For persons with disabilities and their families…Has your disability or your family member’s disability ever prevented you from attending church?

Can't attend church?

Nearly 61% of our attendees with a disability or a family member with a disability reports the experience of being unable to attend church as a result of that disability.

Does that shock you? Does it bother you?

The people attending the Web Summit are likely a very unrepresentative group, and I wouldn’t consider the group a valid statistical sample, but the answer is especially interesting in light of this…

Regularly attend church?This is the response to the question… Do you regularly attend church? (at least once a month)

97% of our conference registrants attend church regularly-not a surprise for a ministry conference. It’s striking that in a group that appears to be highly motivated to attend church, a significant majority of attendees impacted by disability have experienced difficulty in doing so.

Is the reason why so many of our attendees able to be part of church related to the presence of identified disability ministries? Out of those who registered in advance, less than half of the 420 attendees who responded to the question reported the availability of a disability ministry at their identified church…

IF Identified Disability Ministry chart

So…if 61% of a large sample attending a disability ministry conference has experienced difficulty attending church, what would you hypothesize the rates might be among a less-invested group?

In terms of the makeup of the group, slightly more than half were parents of a child with a disability or ministry volunteers, but our attendees had great diversity in terms of their primary disability-related role…

Primary role

We can obtain viewership data for those who signed in for chats through Facebook. While women in general may be more likely to use Facebook, Jeff Davidson’s assertion that we need more dads in special needs ministry appears to be true…

Audience breakdownAmong attendees who used Facebook, the median number of presentations viewed during Inclusion Fusion was nine, while the average (skewed by a number of “power viewers” who watched most/all of the presentations was 14.5.

One last little nugget…here are some statistics on viewership of presentations on our “on-demand” site.

Top Five on-demand videos IF

It’s little surprise that Joni’s keynote presentation was most popular, but aside from our promotional video, the next three videos in popularity were Joe Butler’s talk on recreation as outreach in special needs ministry, Emily Colson’s talk and Beth Golik’s presentation on aligning teaching in special needs ministry with teaching in other areas of the church were most popular.

To summarize…in an admittedly skewed sample, 61% of those who themselves experienced disability or have an immediate family member with disability disclosed they had been unable to attend church at some time as a result of disability. 97% of the sample are currently regular attenders at church, even though fewer than half attend a church with an identified disability or special needs ministry.


Website screen shotKey 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.

About Dr. G

Dr. Stephen Grcevich serves as President and Founder of Key Ministry, a non-profit organization providing free training, consultation, resources and support to help churches serve families of children with disabilities. Dr. Grcevich is a graduate of Northeastern Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), trained in General Psychiatry at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at University Hospitals of Cleveland/Case Western Reserve University. He is a faculty member in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at two medical schools, leads a group practice in suburban Cleveland (Family Center by the Falls), and continues to be involved in research evaluating the safety and effectiveness of medications prescribed to children for ADHD, anxiety and depression. He is a past recipient of the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Dr. Grcevich was recently recognized by Sharecare as one of the top ten online influencers in children’s mental health. His blog for Key Ministry, www.church4everychild.org was ranked fourth among the top 100 children's ministry blogs in 2015 by Ministry to Children.
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