How does your church do with welcoming people who have special needs? I’m not just talking about wheelchair ramps and appropriate Sunday School materials. Does the church recognize the image of God through the disability? Does the church look for ways that, whenever possible, people with special needs can serve the Body?
The Church–and let’s be frank, you and I–can always improve in welcoming and caring for children and adults who live with physical and intellectual challenges, right?
I want to recommend a free, on-line video training that will help you and your church do just that. The videos are produced by The Elisha Foundation, an organization dedicated to transforming the lives of people with disabilities through resourcing churches and providing retreats for families. I am proud to serve on the Board of TEF and to cheer our staff on as they support these churches and families.
With just under two hours of material set in short modules, the material is presented by two Elisha Foundation staff who communicate with winsome clarity from their years of special needs teaching and parenting. Whether you process the videos as a ministry team, provide them to your pastoral staff, or watch them by yourself, your church will benefit from this material.
Here is what you will find:
- Biblical Foundation: The videos will help provide you with a Biblical understanding of the indispensable nature of people with special needs to the church and the theology behind weakness and welcome in the church.
- Community Characteristics: Who are the people with special needs in your body? You may have students or adults with Autism, Down Syndrome, Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. How can you consistently care with such a range of special needs? How can you support the families along the way?
- Classroom Tips: What kind of instructional strategies and tools will best help to disciple those with disabilities in your midst?
- Linked Resources: What other resources are available to you as you consider how to best care?
While the staff from The Elisha Foundation are available to host in-person training for your church ministry teams, the time and expense may not always work out for your setting. These videos are a wonderful solution to resource your church’s care for these indispensable members.
It matters how we care.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.1 Cor 12:21-25