“It isn’t essential that every church have a special needs ministry. But, it is essential that every Christ-centered church demonstrate the love of Christ when they encounter ‘the least of these.’ “Daniel Williams
As God’s chosen people, we are called to show his love and compassion to ALL his children. This task requires neither fancy technology nor special materials. All you need? Some time, kindness, and all the other traits that naturally come with a life devoted to emulating Jesus’ ministry. Here are just a few ways you can make church more accessible at the individual level.
Show Kindness. Humans have a natural inclination to shy away from situations that are new to us. If you don’t have a lot of experience interacting with people with disabilities, you could be excluding them without even realizing it! That’s why it’s important to be intentional with our kindness and actively show warmth and kindness to these members of your church.
Accessibility. Accessibility means designing programs, signs, buildings, etc. so that people with disabilities may navigate them with ease. This sphere of accessibility encompasses everything from enlarging text on bulletins to installing wheelchair ramps by entrances. Making your church more accessible is like metaphorically opening the doors wider for all who seek to worship.
Belonging. We are each given unique gifts and abilities which may find a place within the church. This is no different for people with disabilities. Invite them to participate in worship as a liturgist, usher, or any other responsibility that fits. These small actions demonstrate that they truly have a place in the church.
It’s not necessary for every church to implement a special needs ministry. However, as 1 Peter 4:8-9 indicates (“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”), every member of the church is required to serve and love another unconditionally. Even with the absence of a designated special needs ministry, we as individuals can make a difference by nurturing inclusivity within our own church community.
Thinking about planting a special needs ministry at your church? Visit togethersmallgroups.com to get started.