Tuesday, November 16, 2010

7 things every pastor needs to know about disability

1. People with disabilities are just people. People with disabilities are not an example of imperfection to the perfect. They are an example of imperfection to the imperfect who think themselves perfect.
2. The social consequences of disability are often the most difficult part of having a disability.
3. If I don't know your purpose, that doesn't mean you don't have a purpose. That means I don't know your purpose.
4. Once we decide that we want people with disabilities in the church, the rest is just logistics.
5. People with disabilities are indispensable parts of the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:22).
6. The presence of people with disabiliteis should/will change the way we do things in the church.
7. The Bible applies to all.



  1. So Simple but so Profound. I will use these principles as I do ministry and as I train those to touch lives affected by disability.

  2. Ben Harris4:10 PM

    i'm not a religious person, but as a person with a disability who belives in human rights, i abosuelty agree. Religion is a freedom of chocie, and should be shared by ANYONE who chosses it.
    Good on ya.
    Ben Harris

  3. Anonymous7:33 PM

    Thank you for sharing these basic, yet vital truths about disabilities and religion. I wonder, how much these facts are taught to those studying religion or to be a pastor. I especially like the reminder that people with disabilities are just people. If I appeared or acted differently from what is considered "normal," the greatest gift I could imagine receiving is to be treated the same as everyone else. While it may be difficult for some to know what to say to a person who seems to be in some way impaired, I would say to just make the effort to act like you would in any other situation. People with disabilities are often the most wonderful, intelligent, and God-loving people on earth, if only others will take the time to know them.

  4. Anonymous9:06 AM

    What powerful and clear principals. I aspire to live my life within these guidelines. As a person with a beautiful granddaughter, who happens to be profoundly disabled, gives me the profound honor of loving her. It is not the disabled which is "different", it is the "normal" populations disability not to see the glory within others.

  5. If every pastor knew these 7 things, the church would have a big impact in the lives of people with disabilties. The church could teach people how to love and care for thy neighbor(that's everyone including people with disabilities) through scripture and most importantly the church can integrate people with disabilities. Ther church has a big opportunity to change devalued perceptions of people with disabilties and a good start would be every pastor knowing these 7 things. This is deifnetly a good start towards change.

  6. jennifer6:57 PM

    I feel that the pastors of today need to be accepting of those with disabilities. These 7 guidelines so important in the community, and in order to reach out to the community with disabilities these principles need to be followed.

  7. Anonymous8:51 PM

    Concur with all that is mentioned…if only men that teach from a pulpit would agree and follow these ideas. Thanks for making it so applicable and to the point.

  8. Anonymous11:51 PM

    This applies to everyone. It is how people should treat everyone else no matter if they have a disabilty or no diability. Great way of putting it.

  9. Now if we could just get some Disability Ministry courses into our Christian colleges and seminaries. We could see churches and the lives of people with disabilities transformed with some simple, yet profound training for those going into full time ministry.

  10. How amazingly powerful are those seven guidelines. I especially appreciate #3. If I do not know your purpose, it does not in any way mean that you do not have a purpose. It means that I don't know your purpose and I should get to know you better. I had a conversation with an amazing Pastor who I greatly admired. However, I was struck by some of his comments towards disability. He has a grandson with severe autism and he stated that his grandson would never have a gift to offer the church. I think this is a simple case of #3....to state that someone will NEVER have something to offer the church is not something God would agree with.

  11. I came across this post and realized how easily this could be taken into other areas of society. Its very easy to ignore and/or tolerate individuals with disabilities, especially at church where its easy to say "oh that's someone else's job/problem". As members of a congregation, it is our duty to welcome all into church, yet this is where people turn away and pretend not to notice a person with a disability, or even worse, openly mocking them. Church should be the place where everyone can participate, everyone is invited, and everyone feels at home. I appreciate this post being a call to arms for priests and pastors everywhere. The person in charge of a congregation has such a large influence over the people they are leading. They should be open, welcoming, and aware of how their church might be accidentally or purposely closing its doors on people with disabilities.