The stats are in. More than 500 million people– 10 percent of the world’s population–suffer from some sort of physical, or mental disability.
And guess what? Many churches don’t have a clue on how to meet these needs. Word gets around and if the disabled aren’t comfortable in your church it’s likely they’ll look for another service to attend.
We owe it to our Lord to meet the needs of disabled. Some thoughts:
- Put yourself in their “shoes.” Spend a day in a wheelchair and move through your sanctuary. Blindfold yourself and walk through your building. Imagine what the disabled must feel.
- Encourage people who are disabled to actively participate. Perhaps your next worship leader will do wonderfully from a wheelchair. Seek out and involve the handicapped in your services. People who are disabled can serve in any capacity that’s available.
- Help your congregation connect. Have you ever been ridiculed as “fatso” or “four-eyes”? Encourage them to move beyond the stereotypes. Model acceptance and kindness. The deacons and ushers must be “on board.”
- A ccommodate for the needs of everyone. The deaf may need a “signed” service. Understand the legal requirements in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Work to meet or exceed those stipulations.
- A great place to start is http://www.joniandfriends.org/. They offer a wide scope of information and other resources.
As the Church of Jesus Christ we must be for all who are seeking, for we once were seeking ourselves. We should be ready and available to all the Savior sends our way. We are to serve all as if they were Jesus.