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

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Talking to your church leaders about starting disability ministry

In the great book, Lead like Jesus by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges, there are many great insights. One struck me as I was rereading it recently. On page 191-192 they state,

"Whenever we are asked to do something different in life, the change agent - whether a manager, a spouse, a parent, a sibling, a colleague, or a friend - usually starts off by attempting to convince you of all the benefits of the change you are being  asked to make. Yet it's been found that the benefits - the impact and the "why" of change - is the fourth-ranked concern people have during change. People are first interested in information concerns. "Tell me what you have in mind. What is needed? What is wrong with the way things are now?" When you have information concerns, you don't want to be sold on the change; you simply want to understand it. Next, people are interested in personal concerns. "How will doing this affect me? Do I have what it takes to integrate the suggested change in my life?" Here the focus is on the details involved in making the change a reality. Third, people have implementation concerns. "What do I do first, second, third, etc.?"

This is an important set of observations for us who who are endeavoring to facilitate change within the church. I immediately saw myself as jumping down to the number 4 concern about the impact in my interactions and I think that I would agree with the authors that that is a mistake. Just to help to see the progression, let me list the questions in order.

1-Tell me what you have in mind.
  What is needed?
  What is wrong with the way things are now?
2-How will doing this affect me?
  Do I have what it takes to integrate the suggested change in my life?
3-What do I do first, second, third, etc.?
4-Here are the benefits of the change that I am asking you to make.

Think through this progression before the next time you are attempting to influence someone about the benefits of inclusive ministry.


Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Definition of disability ministry

I wanted to post the following mostly to receive input from anyone who might be interested. Here is a first draft of a definition of disability ministry.

Disability Ministry

Disability ministry is the label given to efforts to address disability (definition provided in a separate document), in the Christian community.

Ministries first endeavor to create greater confidence in Jesus Christ among persons affected by disability (definition provided in a separate document) by discipling Christian individuals…

1). So that they understand what the Bible says. For those with intellectual impairments, that they comprehend at their level of understanding.

2). By teaching and modeling Christian behavior so that people can produce Christian behavior (including worship, prayer, evangelism, service, and discipleship).

3). By facilitating people’s understanding and expression of their individual gifting in loving service.

Disability ministry also works to facilitate the discipling of Christian environments…

4). To begin with repentance, recognizing that historically the Church has not always loved its neighbors with impairments.

5). To see all people as who the Bible teaches they are.

6). To actively facilitate the expression of everyone’s gifting.

7). To assume persons with disabilities are to be fully included in all Church social environments and then to work towards that inclusion.

And finally…

8). To advocate for cultural change within the Church to reflect all 8 of the above.

Thank you for any input you might provide!