Who Invited You?
Have you ever heard that question?
Have you ever felt you were unwanted?
Or suspected you were unwelcome?
Or believed you were unloved?
Unfortunately, too many individuals with intellectual disability feel this way: in our families, in our schools, in our communities, and in our churches – the very last place that anyone should feel unwanted, unwelcome, or unloved.
That’s why Friendship Ministries exists.
I went to San Diego in mid-February for the INCM Children’s Pastor’s Conference, where Friendship was an exhibitor. While I was there I visited Hope United Methodist Church, located on a hillside overlooking the town of Rancho Bernardo. One of Hope’s pastors, Drew DeVries, has a real heart for people with an intellectual disability, so he invited me out to share Friendship’s mission and vision with 15 or so other area church pastors.
Here’s what we covered -
Why disability ministry is important:
· Everyone is created in God’s image and deserving of love and justice.
· Redemption is a gift to all.
· The church (and Church) is only complete when it includes all of God’s children.
Why an inclusive church is a better church:
· An inclusive church reflects God’s family more completely.
· An inclusive church deepens our understanding of what it means to be God’s children.
· An inclusive church is a more loving and accepting church.
But my favorite part of the discussion – and I would suspect everyone’s favorite part of the discussion – was when we recreated a Friendship group. I invited 6 smiling and eager individuals with intellectual disabilities to join us near the end of our time together, and we sang worship songs, prayed, acted out a skit, and celebrated who Jesus is and how much He loves us, regardless of our abilities or disabilities.
What a God we serve.
A special note of thanks to Drew for hosting this event. We are grateful. And if you would like us to do a similar event at your church, give us a call. We’d welcome the opportunity to share our passion for disability ministry.
In Chist's Love,