I am thrilled to introduce our new website and blog! This ministry began in 2007, through the gifted vision and leadership of Stephanie Hubach. She approached Mission to North America (MNA) with a vision for engaging churches across the PCA in disability ministry. The MNA leadership enthusiastically embraced this mission and called Steph to begin MNA Special Needs Ministries.
In September of 2016, I took over as the new director of the ministry and was tasked with figuring out the path forward for the next ten years. We are thrilled to launch the first big step forward – a new name!
This blog is the place where we will discuss many topics related to disability ministry. We will tackle everything from theology to practical how-to steps. But the essential part of our discussions will always be the gospel.
One question we will tackle initially relates to “first steps” that churches can take to move forward in starting their disability ministry. Parents, we will also have a series for you. Look for a coming article on developing realistic and gospel-centered goals for church involvement.
As a preface to all of the practical articles to come, let’s begin with reminding our hearts of the goal of disability ministry, both in the home and in the church. Here’s a hint: it’s not about having the knowledge you need in order to relate to or help someone with a disability grow in their faith.
The Gospel Keeps Us Focused on Growing in Christ, Not Disability
Thankfully, gospel-centered disability ministry doesn’t require perfect answers or plans. It doesn’t even require perfect steps forward. Gospel-centered disability ministry does require faith in Christ; a belief in the good news of the One who lived a perfect, sinless life and died in our place. We have access to a relationship with God because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross. Our primary goal in developing a gospel-centered disability ministry is love for the Lord and progressive spiritual growth.
If our starting point in ministry is anything but Christ, our best efforts will only reach inclusion. Yes, we want people with disabilities included in every aspect of church body life; however, our primary goal must always be that we want our ministry in the home and church to ultimately foster and encourage a relationship with God that grows in depth.
Parents, are we more accustomed to thinking and talking about IEP goals for our child or spiritual goals?
Church staff, are we talking to parents about their child’s behavior more than we are talking to them about their child’s spiritual growth?
Why would we want to engage disability with the gospel? Because over and over again, Jesus willingly sought out, ministered to, loved on, and served the sick, the weak, the lame, and the blind. He valued those with disabilities so much that He called them indispensable members of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12).
Come join us as we, too, seek to engage disability with the gospel. The gospel keeps us focused on Christ while seeking to adapt and accommodate the unique needs of kids, teens, and adults with disabilities.