Resources for Enfolding Youth With Disabilities Into Your Ministry

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This week we are sharing two articles written by Katie Flores, who leads ministry to disabled people and their families at Covenant Presbyterian in Birmingham, Alabama. Check out this post from yesterday and come back tomorrow for the second one. Today Katie shares some for the resources that have been most helpful to her in developing this ministry at her church, and she wanted to pass these guides along to you.

Books

Same Lake, Different Boat: Coming Alongside People Touched by Disability by Stephanie Hubach. “When the church attempts to function without all of its parts, the body of Christ becomes disabled. Same Lake, Different Boat is a transformational work–designed to renew our minds to think biblically about disability in order that our lives, our relationships, and our congregations might wholly reflect Christ.” Forward by Joni Eareckson Tada.

Changing Attitudes About Disability: How to See People with Disabilities as our Co-laborers in God’s Redemption Plan by Daniel Kyle Vander Plaats. ” Vander Plaats discusses different attitudes we may have about disability and provides multiple resources on how to move along the pendulum from ignorance, to pity, to caring, to friendship, and ultimately, to co-laboring, where we find ourselves in rich reciprocal relationships with disabled people that enables both of us to fulfill our God-given callings. ”

The Life We Never Expected: Hopeful Reflections on the Challenges of Parenting Children with Special Needs by Andrew Wilson and Rachel Wilson. “Andrew and Rachel Wilson know what it means to live a life they never expected. As the parents of two children with special needs, their story mingles deep pain with deep joy in unexpected places. With raw honesty, they share about the challenges they face on a daily basis―all the while teaching what it means to weep, worship, wait, and hope in the Lord. Offering encouragement rooted in God’s Word, this book will help you cling to Jesus and fight for joy when faced with a life you never expected.” Forward by Russell Moore.

Mental Health and the Church: A Ministry Handbook for Including Children and Adults with ADHD, Anxiety, Mood Disorders, and Other Common Mental Health Conditions by Stephen Grcevich, MD. “Dr. Stephen Grcevich presents a simple and flexible model for mental health inclusion ministry for implementation by churches of all sizes, denominations, and organizational styles… Seven broad inclusion strategies are presented for helping persons of all ages with common mental health conditions and their families to fully participate in all of the ministries offered by the local church.”

Websites/Ministries

Engaging Disabilities with the Gospel. “Gospel-Centered. Disability-Focused. Church-Based.” This ministry, run by the PCA, serves over 1900 churches in North America. They are committed to the disabled, the families and friends of disabled people, and the churches they belong to. Their reach is comprehensive and gospel-focused; an excellent resource.

thefivestages.com. The five stages — Ignorance, Pity, Care, Friendship, Co-Laborer — describe the attitudinal and relational journey individuals can take when coming into fellowship with people who have disabilities.

Joni and Friends. For over forty years, Joni and Friends has served families and churches touched by disability. “We present the Gospel of Jesus Christ through all of our programs around the world. We train, disciple, and mentor people affected by disability to exercise their gifts of leadership and service in their churches and communities. We energize the church to move from lack of awareness of people impacted by disability to including everyone into the fabric of worship, fellowship, and outreach.”

Please see also:

The Role of Youth Workers Enfolding Youth With Disabilities Into the Life of the Church, Special Needs Parenting: What Does My Child Really Understand About God? and tomorrow’s piece about enfolding families touched by disability into your youth ministry.

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