Jason Whitt

What was done as a means of meeting one of our needs has transformed how the teenagers and adults in our church perceive those with disabilities. By looking for ways to make a place for Camille and offer community to our family, our church is discovering that Camille offers gifts back to the body. Read More →

Moe and Ann are two people with disabilities supported by The Mills Community Support in Almonte, Ontario.  They were having difficulty really feeling that they belonged at the church they were attending. Few people said “hi” to them and they didn’t engage well with the format or the activities. Thousands of people go through similar experiences, whether or not Read More →

Lately a video (produced back in 2004) has been making the rounds on social media highlighting the artistic ability of Paul Smith from Philadelphia, PA. He had severe spastic cerebral palsy yet made the most of his abilities, and at the Rose Haven nursing home he found a community that valued and appreciated not only his Read More →

roeBryan Roe is a youth pastor with Crosspoint Community Church in Wisconsin. At Key Ministry‘s 2012 Inclusion Fusion he shared the remarkable story of his time with Tourette Syndrome during his youth. On the Disability and Faith Forum we tend to focus on stories where people currently living with disabilities experience and express God’s grace and truth, but Bryan’s is a story where he underwent a physical ‘curing’ of Tourettes. This story isn’t the tired reiteration of “believe and you will be healed!” however, since the (spoilers!) “Greater Miracle” for Bryan is not that his Turrettes was taken away but that God uses him in light of not in spite of this disability.

I highly encourage you to watch the video below and to check out the post on Key Ministry’s blog, but in case you don’t have time here’s a quick synopsis of some of Bryan’s primary points in how to welcome people with apparent or ‘hidden’ disabilities into a church community:

  1. Regularly feature testimonies from adult leaders who have seen God use them in ways that he used me.  Additionally, make sure that the leaders who are giving their testimonies make themselves available to talk to (and pray with) students who are impacted by their stories.
  2. Create positions for serving in the church that can be filled by individuals with special needs.  Invest in them this way and you add value to them.  Be creative and don’t be afraid to experiment.
  3. Communicate stories about how Jesus interacted with people who were on the margins of culture.  Through this, build a case to the rest of your youth (or overall church) population about how we should be intentionally and genuinely reaching out to these kids rather than ostracizing them.

harvestniagaraAttending Harvest Bible Chapel in Niagara, Ontario, Brett and Breha have experienced a transformative journey which led to their adoption of William, a child with exceptional needs. Learn more about their spiritual growth as part of Harvest Niagara from 0:00 to 3:45, or jump to the story of William’s adoption at 3:46. Many of us, I’m sure, can relate to Brett’s observation (5:04) of our own tendency to place a primary emphasis on a lot of secondary things.

Church

Our church has done many things right in creating a safe and accommodating place for children, including a Plan to Protect® policy, offering to provide workers and they have even offered seminars on children with disabilities. Outside of the children’s programming, though, I know of nothing specifically in place for adults with disabilities except general acceptance. Read More →