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!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jeff,

    I affirm the overall intention that you're addressing in these 8 components, although I'd be inclined to move #8 (To advocate for cultural change within the Church to reflect all 8 of the above) to the top somehow, either as #1 or in the opening sentences.

    The primary concern I have is with the term "disability ministry" itself. Too many churches and church leaders I talk with immediately associate "disability ministry" as a separate, stand-alone ministry that needs to be started, organized, populated with volunteers to maintain, incorporated into the congregational structure … — like the education ministry, worship ministry, outreach ministry, etc. While it may become that in some churches — likely larger ones — I think it all begins with a posture of hospitality, welcome, and belonging toward all people (but in this case people with disabilities) that is part of the larger cultural change you name in #8.

    Terry DeYoung