You want to do inclusive ministry… but what happens when your church is resistant?
Maybe your church doesn’t have an active disability ministry, or perhaps they seem unwilling to change the current program. You see opportunities to integrate a more modern, robust, and loving program: ministry alongside persons with disability, not just ministry to them. Perhaps you want to utilize the TOGETHER curriculum in an inclusive small group setting, with persons of all abilities growing in faith together. But you see hurdles ahead in the form of leadership that may not catch the vision—yet.
So what can you do when it seems the church is its own stumbling block to inclusive ministry?
This is always the first step. Prayer reminds us that God is in control, and that everything is possible with Him. It also puts our relationship to our church in the right perspective. Your church and its leadership are not the enemy! They are people loved by God. They are imperfect people all seeking a perfect God together.
- Do your homework
Before you take any action, make sure you have a firm grasp on what you’d like to see implemented and why you believe this is the best way. Check out resources on our website that explain the new vision of disability ministry, resources for leaders, and examples of TOGETHER curriculum. If you can, make a short list of possible concerns that your church leaders may express, and see if you can find answers for them ahead of time.
- Meet in small groups
To start the conversation, ask for a private meeting with one or two leaders from your church to discuss disability ministry. Remember that this truly is a conversation—a give and take between two parties. Your job is to present your case and to listen hard to their response. Don’t rush to “prove your point” right away, but enjoy the thoughtful conversation and commit to being open to their insight.
- Be patient and persistent
The key here is that we must speak the truth in love. If you don’t hear the answer you were hoping for, don’t be discouraged. Pray and wait again. Do more homework, and ask for another meeting. There is wisdom is patient persistence. And remember, the Friendship Ministries team is always here for you! Contact us for more helpful tools, advice, and wisdom from other leaders and mentors.
Are you ready to approach something big with your church’s disability ministry? We are cheering you on!