Deep-Dive Resources for Churches

We’re thrilled to partner with you in building belonging with persons of all abilities!

“Walk in obedience to all that the LORD…has commanded you so that you may live and prosper.”

–Deuteronomy 5:33

We seek to walk with you as you do what God has called you to do, and we are excited to see God’s blessings in your community!

As a Partnering Church, you have access to a plethora of resources to support belonging for people of all abilities in your faith community. We welcome your questions about the below and additional topics, resources, and situations. Please send them to Victoria (Tory) White, at VictoriaWhite@friendship.org

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Try an all-access subscription to the TOGETHER curriculum for one annual fee!


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Our Consultants can provide your campus with ongoing support (see details on our Observation & Consultation page).


Subscribe to our monthly E-newsletter with best practices and biblical encouragement, highlighting resources and how you can use them.


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Join our online sessions for peer support on specific topics for sharing, praying, and learning together.


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We hold live training opportunities (online and in person).


You can participate in our Circle of Congregations for Teaching and Learning.

The Circle of Congregations entails a gathering with learning and worship sessions, discussion times, field trips, and engagement in projects that will support ministry. See some of our project resources on the Church Resources page!


The resources below are just for you, our Partner Members. We also have FREE resources avilable to share with those who are not yet Partner Members on our Church Resources page.


Wondering where to start?

“Walk” through this journey to belonging and reflect on the statements that we call markers, or points, on the journey. What is true in your congregation?


Beliefs, Facts & Figures– What is keeping over 80% of churches from ministering with persons of all abilities?

A pie chart showing that 80% of churches are missing out on complete community and only 20% are ministering with people with disabilities.

Thank you for being a part of changing the world, making the Gospel accessible in our churches, and inspiring and equipping others so that church is a place of belonging for persons of all abilities.


As outlined on How We Help Your Church, but in a one-page document:


Resources by Topic

Adults

Dementia


Meaningful Employment

Learn from Dirk Bakhuizen, founder of Beyond 26 , about how churches can partner with adults with disabilities and how Beyond 26 supports this effort, for meaningful (paid or unpaid) employment.

The model of partnering with jobseekers, involving mentors and using connections within the community is based on the project, Putting Faith to Work, by the Collaborative on Faith & Disabilities.


Small Groups & Bible Study

Not sure where to start in equipping small groups, house churches, or a Sunday School class in building belonging with adults with disabilities?

Training module

4 segments, each with a few sessions that groups can work through to be more equipped, using videos, activities, resource links, and more. Some sessions are for leaders only, but most are for the entire group (including persons with disabilities): Small Group Training Module by the Circle of Congregations.


Attitudes & Perspectives

5 Stages of Attitudes


Catholic Perspectives

In August of 2021, All Belong hosted a 2-part webinar series discussing what inclusive worship looks like in Catholic traditions. Anne Masters, Ph.D., FAAIDD  (Director, Office for Pastoral Ministry with Persons with Disabilities) rcan.org/disabilities, and Elizabeth Rodriguez-Waterfield of Ministerio Amistad shared insights, ideas, stories, and more.


Puzzle Piece Perspective on Labels & Diagnoses

Here is a collection of 1-page (double-sided) PDFs on a selection of areas of disability that are described using the puzzle piece perspective.

A description of the perspective in written form is in Barbara Newman’s book, Accessible Gospel, Inclusive Worship. Appendix A of that book contains the “Getting to Know Me” sheet which uses the Puzzle Piece to identify strengths and areas of challenge in individuals.


Ministry Leaders with Disabilities

We need models for inclusive ministry, and that means we need to be listening to and learning from ministry leaders who have disabilities!

Disability & Discipleship

Joanna French leads ministry and advocates for others to step up in “Disability and Discipleship” (5-min. read) and her book, Becoming Enabled: A Busy Minister’s Guide to Making the Gospel Accessible

From Pity to Community

Marvin Miller meets pastors and parishioners where disability meets ministry in “From Pity to Community” (4-min read)

Leanings

Rev. Peter Gordon reflects on Jacob’s limp, and not missing the point of grace or the positives of disability in “Leanings”

Who in your community is a leader, whose voice needs to be shared? Try one of these options for elevating the voices of persons with disabilities in ministry leadership (and we’d love to help you with that!):


Restorative Circles

Restorative Circles (and restorative practices in general) are one way we love to bring about communication with and by persons with disabilities. Here are a few helpful links to find out more! We would love to offer you training and help you try holding a restorative circle.


Books

Books by leaders with disabilities:


Images

Looking for images of people with varied abilities? Browse disabilityisbeautiful.com.  You can also upload images to expand this collection of images that seek to represent the fullness of community and all who bear the image of God. Only use iamges that you have permission to share! We have a photo/video-release form that can help with that.


Barbara Newman’s Legacy


Children & Youth Ministry

Below are resources by subcategory. You may also want to check out the mini-course we worked with the Christian Leader’s Institute to create, called Discipling Neurodiverse Children- Supporting Who God Made Them to Be (the mini-course is free and you can log in as a guest to do it).

Behavior Strategies


Children’s Mental Health

After considering what Dr. Rozema shared, one participant commented, “it’s like what I know to listen for in music: Frequency, Duration, Intensity. And in music, we also listen for changes in Tone.” In children’s mental health, perhaps we also can be aware of the tone in which behaviors and words are coming at us. Want to think through this more? Reach out to us!


Universal Design in Children’s Ministry


Getting to Know Kids

Try using this “Get to Know Me” sheet to write down what you know and learn about an individual, one of the tools used in the following resources, and found in Barbara Newman’s book Accessible Gospel, Inclusive Worship.


Trauma-Informed Children’s Ministry

All Belong’s director of evaluation services, Betsy Winkle, Ed.S., provides a webinar on becoming trauma-informed for your children’s and youth ministries.

Download the handout for this training, and additional resources:


Creating Belonging with Youth


Cultural Context

The Black Church and Inclusive Community


Multicultural Worship with Varied Abilities

See also this article (in Spanish ) about inclusive ministry from a Latina perspective by Elizabeth Rodriguez on CICW’s webpage. (See the article in English here ).


Funding

Denominational and other sources

Church Juice $8k grant

A Church Communications and Marketing grant of up to $8,000 from Church Juice by ReFrame Ministries can be used for initiatives in the area of Community, Strategy, Digital Ministry, Church Planting, and Technology. You can create greater accessibility and build belonging with grants in those areas!

Up to $1500 for projects

JAF maintains a fund for grants of up to $2,500 for projects that start or expand how your ministry supports persons with disabilities.

Lucas Project $1k grants

The Lucas Project offers $1,000 grants for starting a respite ministry for caregivers in your community.

Pathways $1k awards

Pathways.org offers annual $1,000 awards for inclusion efforts.

UMC grants

UMC Disability Ministries grants offered to churches within the UMC.


Vital Worship Grants

The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship annually awards grants for worship-related projects. We would be delighted to partner with you in writing a grant that will explore inclusive worship!


Localized grant sources

Texas

Want to put on a conference or hold a training? Get funding from the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD).

Indiana

Grants and other resources from the Center for Congregations (to communities in Indiana).

West Michigan Autism

Grants for families, teachers and churches for equipment or services particular to individuals with autism from the Autism Support of West Shore (local to West Michigan)


Gifts in the Congregation

Unwrapping Your Gifts

Want to find out what gifts congregants might share if you asked them? Want a practical next step to complete your teaching on the Gifts of the Spirit? Here is a simple survey you can modify and use! Need to learn about needs for support? Simply want to know your congregation better? Or, for folks coming to a service or joining your programs for the first time, think about using an Intake Form that asks key questions. When you know supports are needed, you can follow up with a conversation or by filling out this Survey to develop a plan.


Inclusive Bible Study Materials

Curriculum

Take a look through the Together Curriculum! Partner Members have access to every unit!


Devotionals


Language that Builds Belonging

Guidance on Person-First Language

Are you looking for assistance as you share about inclusive community?

All Belong's Brand Guide

Explore the All Belong Brand Guide to learn how our core beliefs impact our language, visual communications, approach to storytelling, and more.

CDC Guidelines

The CDC offers a comprehensive guide to communicating with and about people with disabilities. Consider offering this as a resource for your church and/or ministry to reference. Access the PDF here.

John Knight's Seminar

This manuscript of a seminar by John Knight at the Bethlehem Conference for Pastors & Church Leaders, Minneapolis MN Feb. 2, 2020 makes excellent statements and gives Scriptural reasoning for thinking about disability and practical help for how to welcome, embrace, disciple and prepare for service those God has called to live an atypical life in this present age.

Pathways.org

Team Belong offers these guidelines for person-first language when applying for their grants.


Videos & Courses


The Ten Dimensions of Belonging

A key component to how we understand building belonging with persons with varied abilities. See our resources about those dimensions, what they look like in community, and how that impacts the way in which we do ministry.


Scripture References

Need some Scripture verses relating to ability? Check these out! or explore the resources that Ability Ministry has put together.


Mental Health

Learning to Minister Well


Books

On Mental Health Challenges and the Church:


Other Ministries with Resources

Grace Alliance: Thrive

Grace Alliance’s Thrive workbook is an excellent guide to renewing faith and wellbeing. Grace groups and information about other resources are also available on their website.

Kay Warren

Mental Health & The Church, the ministry of Kay Warren abounds with strategy, videos and story for you to utilize.

Key Ministry

Dr. Steve Grcevich, founder of Key Ministry provides informative training in the area of mental health ministry in this video series.

Mental Health First Aid

Mental Health First Aid is an excellent resource and training for anyone who may be called upon to support people with mental health challenges.

Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries

See their learning courses for ministering well with persons with mental health challenges, including a course focused on race, faith, and mental health, and a course specifically designed for Catholic believers.


Tools

We have collaborated with congregations to create a 7-week series on mental health education and conversations. More info here.

This well-being survey (adapted from Panorama’s student well-being survey)  can be used by and with anyone in your community. Utilize it as a framework for a conversation; fill it out at a small group, support group, or Bible study as a check-in for everyone.


Responsive Design: Supports for Specific Needs

Congregational Practice Guide

This resource was put together by Dr. Erik Carter, et al at Vanderbilt University. Welcoming People with Developmental Disabilities and Their Families: A Practical Guide for Congregations


Engaging with Scripture with Low or No Reading Skills

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The TOGETHER curriculum is full of ways to engage with Scripture as a group!

Scripture is important, and reading ability need not hinder us from taking it in! This article from the University of Aberdeen discusses dyslexia and reading the Bible. We’ve created a list of options to think about as well.


Community Teams

How do you wrap around an individual or family, even beyond a crisis situation, providing long-term support that ebbs and flows with their life with a disability or condition?

Our consultants would love to help you talk through starting a Wrap Around support team! Modify this document as you need to, in order to make it useful to you. Our consultants can help you think about ways to collect and store information, communicate with everyone, and set up schedules, and gatherings to check in and to celebrate, and talk through barriers you may encounter.


Transportation Support

Are rides the biggest logistical issue? Try using this website to coordinate drivers and rides the family knows and trusts, while providing great choice for all who volunteer to provide the ride. GoLou.org (started by a mom!)


Walking Through Grief

This resource contains information and tips you can use to support individuals in their grief.


Leadership


Volunteer Engagement Ideas

All of the resources in this library (on this page) are helpful for equiping staff and volunteers. Want help organizing how to use it all well? We’d love to work with you! If you’re looking for how to get those volunteers, try some of these ideas from the late director of Friendship Ministries, Nella Uitvlugt: 13 Ways to Recruit, our updated list of even more ideas, and this set of ideas from the late Barbara Newman:


Universal Design for Worship

All About Options

As Barb Newman says, Universal Design is all about options. Hear her explain it in these videos:


Best Practices

Download our Role Based Tips, which you can share and highlight with others in your congregation and/or ministry. Through this resource, everyone can find their role, their tasks, and learn how we can all build belonging through practical tips and tools. By having a few simple ideas for how each role in the congregation or ministry can create belonging and welcome for persons with varied abilities, you can make a big impact through even small changes.


Church Welcome Story

A church welcome story uses personalized elements to create a story about what may happen when someone comes to your church. By showing examples and images customized for your ministry, people of all abilities can have a clear understanding of what to expect when attending your church program.


Other Universal Design Tools