“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

Monday, March 06, 2006


March 11, 2006 will be the second annual meeting of the National Association of Christians in Special Education. This year the meeting is once again being held at California Baptist University. We are blessed with an excellent group of presenters dealing with subjects ranging from state of the art special education, to ways to integrate persons with disabilities into the local church, to parents sharing their experiences of joy and frustration with state agencies and schools, and unfortunately the Christian church as well. It should be a great day! Check out the website at http://nacsped.com

I am going to try to rally the forces to continue pushing for a movement of lay professionals to change the church. We aren't doing half of what we might being doing if we made the effort. I was reminded of this this past week. A woman who attends our church who experiences a cognitive disability, moved from her residence in town to a group home in a neighboring community. In that community there are several very large, I mean VERY LARGE churches. I was contacted by the woman who runs the group home about information regarding our church as my friend wanted to continue coming to church. After providing the information I asked the woman whether there would be any others at the group home who would enjoy attending church. To make a long story short, we will hopefully have an additional 10-20 adults experiencing cognitive disability coming to our church.

I was in another neighboring community to pick up a friend at his workshop and was once again amazed as the adults experiencing cognitive disabiities filed out how few of them I knew. I pray that they have a church home somewhere. There are opportunities to reach out to individuals like these, many who are unchurched and would love to have a relationship with the Lord. However, we set our sights too low, and become satisfied with the status quo in our churches. We do some small thing and congratulate ourselves, when God gives us the opportunity to do great things through faith and obedience.

That is the part of this equation that is missing. I have done research myself about the number of churches in my region who have persons with developmental disabilties who attend. The result was 85% which is great! However, there were largely only 1 or 2 per church, and they were at the church because they just showed up at the doorstep of the church. Why aren't churches out looking for those individuals so they can minister to them and facilitate their sharing their gifts. Just based on the US census, there should about 20% of church membership comprised of persons with disabilties, with about 9% of that group having severe disabilities. Is 9% of your church's congregation comprised of persons with severe disabilties? If you have a church of 200, you might expect about 40 persons with disabilities to be in the congregation, 18 of which have severe disabilities. And, I will tell you, if they are not there, it is not because they do not want to come. They are most likely not there because they simply have not been asked.

May God bless us in our efforts to grow an army of lay professionals to change the church. With obedience will come blessing, I believe.


No comments: