As fallen creatures, we often fall short of the life that God has called us to live. Despite these shortcomings, God’s grace allows us to be made whole again though him. That means growing in Christ by remaining faithful to his teachings and commandments. This idea of self-improvement is reflected In 2 Peter 3:18, in which we are commanded to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
With this verse in mind, we started thinking about how we could improve our approach to inclusive ministry in the coming year. And so, we developed 5 new year resolutions we want to challenge our readers to consider for the coming year. Let’s create more belonging in 2020!
- Make Universal Design a Priority. Universal design is a way of designing physical attributes (signs, bulletins, buildings) and church activities (fellowship, worship, Bible study resources) so that they are accessible to everyone. For a church, universal design is a way to signal that ALL are invited to worship. Check our blog post, “Better Belonging,” to explore some tangible ways that your church can adopt universal design.
- Never Stop Learning. The world of inclusive ministry is always growing, and it’s important to stay up to date with these conversations! In doing so, you will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to be a better disability advocate. Subscribing to newsletters and attending conferences are a great way to keep up with the latest in disability ministry. You can always refer to our calendar to find out when the next event is.
- Introduce an Inclusive Ministry. Organizing a dedicated inclusive ministry is a valuable way to create belonging at church. If your church does not have a ministry, don’t fret! We have lots of resources that can help. Check out our general tips on starting inclusive ministry here, and explore our TOGETHER Bible studies here. Remember, an inclusive ministry doesn’t have to look like a “typical” Friendship group. Any small group or Bible study can be inclusive if you use accessible resources!
- Let Everyone’s Gifts Shine. The heart of inclusive ministry is being able to share and appreciate our unique gifts and talents. Is there someone at church who has a beautiful voice? Or perhaps their ability is to spread contagious joy! Whatever the case, let’s find ways to participate in the blessed gifts of others. Encourage everyone to serve in whatever way they are able.
- Share Your Story. Share the blessings of your ministry with the larger community of inclusive ministry. Nominate someone for a Friendship Spotlight or share a picture on social media. Sharing your story highlights the value of inclusive ministry and encourages others to follow suit. Celebrate the victories of inclusive ministry and create the conditions for belonging to flourish!
The coming of a new year is a great time to improve ourselves. We hope these tips will find you and your community useful. Let us know how these resolutions work out by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by shooting us a message on Facebook.