I think my favorite part of my job with Key Ministry is affording other people opportunities to use their gifts and talents to honor and serve God.
That’s a lot of what we do – giving pastors, ministry leaders and volunteers the tools, resources, relationships and platforms to connect churches and families impacted by disability for the purpose of making disciples of Jesus Christ. In 2019, we enjoyed unprecedented opportunities to advance the cause of disability ministry.
Here are some highlights from this past year…
We’ve seen churches successfully implement mental health inclusion strategies following training and consultation we’ve provided. It’s been especially gratifying to see churches take concrete steps to reach out to and include families in their local communities impacted by mental illness. Our training has been especially well-received. Over 200 staff and volunteers turned out at Lakewood Church in Houston on a Saturday morning for an event this past March.
In May, we were honored to be part of a meeting at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in Washington with approximately 50 faith leaders advising Federal officials on resources the government might provide to churches and other houses of worship seeking to support individuals and families impacted by mental illness. Great relationships were formed! We were part of a nationwide webcast on navigating the holiday season sponsored by the HHS Office of Faith-Based Partnerships on November 12th.
We had unprecedented opportunities to educate pastors, church leaders, volunteers and professionals in 2019. Members of our staff traveled to seven different states (Georgia, Florida, Kansas, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia) for conferences and other training events. Beth Golik represented the ministry well at the Wonderfully Made Conference in Overland Park, KS this past October.
We were invited for the first time to present at the American Association of Christian Counselors World Conference this past October in Nashville. It was certainly our first opportunity to speak on the same program as the U.S. Secretary of State!
I had the opportunity to serve as the keynote speaker at Mental Health and the Church, a half-day conference hosted by Winebrenner Theological Seminary on the campus of the University of Findlay. our first-ever training event hosted by a seminary. We’d love to be part of more events in the future. The turnout was double what the organizers hoped for, and a reflection of the interest in mental health ministry. Looks like this conference will be an annual event!
November also marked our first ever training on a college campus held expressly for students in the doctoral program in psychology at Regent University in Virginia Beach. A visit to the CBN campus was an added benefit to the visit where we had the opportunity to shoot some video for future CBN News broadcasts highlighting the struggles of persons with disabilities in the church.
We had many opportunities in this past year to increase awareness about the needs of persons with disabilities in the church. Our interview on In the Market with Janet Parshall was heard on over 500 stations nationwide. Segments on Washington Watch were broadcast to listeners of over 300 stations. We contributed to regular features on the Moody Radio affiliate in Cleveland. We were also honored to serve as regular contributors to the website of the ERLC (Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission) of the Southern Baptist Convention, offering us an opportunity to distribute resources and content to the churches of America’s second largest denomination.
Tens of thousands of families have been encouraged by the resources created by our team of 30 volunteer authors and writers. Our online groups serve over 1,800 disability and mental health ministry leaders. Our staff has responded to 185 requests thus far in 2019 for consultation, resources or training. We’ve had 143,000 unique visitors to our website this year, and we’re approaching 4,000,000 views of our ministry and special needs parenting blogs.
Our single most impactful event in 2019 was Inclusion Fusion Live, a national disability ministry conference we hosted that was attended by over 300 pastors, ministry leaders, volunteers and family members from 25 different states in Cleveland this past April. All-day ministry intensives were offered to provide churches with all the necessary training and resources to launch a special needs ministry or mental health ministry. Catherine Boyle from our team is pictured here discussing strategies for including teens and young adults of high intelligence with autism at church.
In addition to the 300+ persons attending Inclusion Fusion Live in-person, videos of main stage presentations at the conference have received over 200,000 views to date. The most frequently viewed presentation was this incredibly powerful keynote presentation by Janet Parshall. In her presentation, Janet issued a powerful call to the church to minister more effectively to persons with mental illness. She identified key biblical figures who experienced symptoms of mental illness, challenged church leaders to end stigmatization of persons with mental health issues and encouraged pastors to begin addressing mental illness in the course of their preaching.
Interested in being part of next year’s Inclusion Fusion Live? Registration opens on December 1. Here’s a preview of some of the content in store for #IFL2020.
I’m also thankful for all of the people who make our ministry possible through sharing of their time, talent and treasure. We did our work on a budget of approximately $60,000 in 2019. We could very much use additional funding in 2020 allowing us to travel to more training events, increase awareness of our resources and services among pastors and other church leaders and provide for additional staff support to manage the rapidly expanding volume of requests for training or consultation.
Your prayers and financial support are much appreciated. You can click here to provide a secure donation to our ministry or contribute surcharge-free by making a gift to my Facebook fundraiser on behalf of Key Ministry.
On behalf of the staff and Board of Key Ministry, I would like to extend our Best Wishes to all of our followers for a Blessed and Joyous Christmas season!