THERE ARE RICH OPPORTUNITIES FOR EVERY CHURCH THAT FULLY EMBRACES INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES EFFECTED BY DISABILITY AND MENTAL HEALTH CONDITIONS.
Leaders around the country are interacting in interdenominational groups to help people of all abilities encounter Christ and experience belonging in the church. Some groups connect through online discussions (e.g., Facebook Groups), some meet up in person from time to time and some combine online connection with live meetings.
Walk Right In Ministries has the privilege of working in collaboration with pastors and leaders around the world who are strengthening the church with people of all abilities.
Statistically, we have a long way to go in experiencing churches and a culture that effectively reflect the heart of Christ about people with disabilities. According to recent studies*, 56% of families have kept their child from religious activities due to a lack of support. People with disabilities are reportedly the world’s largest unreached group of people. Forty-six percent of American families say they have never been asked by a faith leader about how to include their child. Still, remarkable progress has been made.
These are exciting days in the disability ministry movement!
Not since Joni Eareckson Tada first started Joni & Friends in 1979 has there been such a notable season of growth involving awareness and resources devoted to bringing the Gospel to people affected by disabilities and their families. Thanks be to God, the inspiring work that Joni started 40 years ago has grown tremendous momentum. Walk Right In Ministries is a proud and grateful Ministry Affiliate of Joni & Friends.
In January 2013, Walk Right In Ministries hosted the first meeting of the Minnesota Disability Ministry Connection. Today, that group meets monthly in the Twin Cities and includes an online network of hundreds of pastors and leaders throughout the nation to connect, learn and strengthen the Church together.
“Key Ministry credits the Minnesota Disability Ministry Connection with the model for growing the disability ministry movement in Northeastern Ohio.”
— Beth Golik, Ministry Coordinator at Key Ministry
Walk Right In Ministries is privileged to be part of this growing community empowering people affected by disabilities with the Gospel, promoting a biblical worldview on disability and multiplying disability-effective churches.
LOCAL & NATIONWIDE NETWORKS
Individual denominations nationwide can often be a helpful connection point for leaders and pastors looking for information, ideas or support. Examples of these networks include the United Methodist Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, The Evangelical Covenant Church and The National Catholic Partnership on Disability. Check with your denominational offices for resources and networking opportunities.
One of the nation’s premiere networks is the Special Needs & Disability Ministry Leaders Forum, founded and moderated by Key Ministry. It is a private Facebook group that connects nearly 1,500 leaders from around the world to share support and ideas.
Key Ministry’s monthly online Video Roundtable is another wonderful way to get to know pastors and disability ministry leaders on a national scale while learning more about hot topics and trends in disability ministry.
If you are part of a group you do not see listed here, we would love to help others find you! Please contact us with the name of your group and a link to your website or Facebook page.
North Texas Disability Ministry Network
NW Church Disability Network (Seattle)
Special Needs Ministry Network of North Texas
Wisconsin Christian Disability Network for Churches
Don’t wait for more reasons to get connected. Start today!
- Encourage one another and spur each other on.
- Learn about resources.
- Share and test ideas.
- Get answers to questions.
- Identify best practices.
- Collaborate with other ministries to optimize resources.
- Be alert to future career opportunities and make opportunities known to others.
- Promote awareness in your community.
- Pray for each other and with each other.
- Explore together ways of making Christ known to all.
Read more about reasons for networking with peers in disability ministry.
*Whitehead, AL. Religion and Disability. 2018.
**Ault, MJ Congregational Participation and Supports for Children and Adults with Disabilities. 2013.