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The girls are chatting at break time and talking about the party at Amber’s house. They all seem to be going, but you have been left out. The boys line up against the wall to choose teams. Everyone else is chosen and the teams are even, so you are not allowed to play – you have been left out. “You must be 4 feet tall to ride this ride.” How come you are the shortest member of your after school club? Left out of the fun again. It’s possible we all remember a story like this from our childhood. Stories we would rather forget!

Certainly being left out is only true with children, correct? Adults would know better than to exclude another person. And church would certainly be a place for inclusion rather than exclusion. Yet, sometimes even the materials we use create a situation where someone is left out!

Consider this scene. Your church is gearing up this fall for adult small groups. Your congregation agrees to study a particular book and form discussion groups of 6-8 adults who will read this book and then gather to answer questions and pray together. The sign-up sheets are located in the foyer.

Imagine being the adult who reads by listening to books on audio or the individual who speaks with signs, gestures, or picture systems. What if you were the person who was an English Language Learner or the individual who needs pictures or movements to better understand a concept? Imagine having a great attention span as an adult for five minutes tops. The small group offering in this church would have a large, unwritten sign written over it for some individuals in the church: LEFT OUT AGAIN.

TOGETHER by Friendship Ministries is offering curriculum for adult small groups with a different sign: EVERYONE WELCOME.

TOGETHER is a tool that takes advantage of technology, YouTube clips, multi-sensory options for studying Scripture, and opportunities to respond with words, gestures, or pictures. As your adult Sunday school or small group gathers together, each person will be able to connect with the varied options woven throughout the materials. This material is truly created for ALL of the adults in your congregation.

Connect with a sample lesson, check out the reasonable prices, and get ready to “Choose Courage” or “Meet Jesus Face to Face” as the first units are now available for use! Get ready to welcome ALL adults in your congregation as you grow and learn TOGETHER.

 
Barbara J. Newman is a church and school consultant for CLC Network. She is the author of several books, including Accessible Gospel, Inclusive Worship, Helping Kids Include Kids with Disabilities, Nuts and Bolts of Inclusive Education, Autism and Your Church, and Body Building: Devotions to Celebrate Inclusive Community. She has written curriculum for Friendship Ministries, serves as a program affiliate for Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, and is a frequent national speaker at educational and church conferences. She was the recipient of the Henri J. M. Nouwen award in 2015. In addition to writing and speaking, Barbara enjoys working in her classroom at Zeeland Christian School.

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