(November 11, 2021) Michael Ashcraft shares good news and a challenge about reaching the disabled in churches large or small…
Gina Spivey’s church is reaching the biggest unreached people group in America, and you may not know they’re an unreached group.
They are people with disabilities, and tragically many churches don’t want to focus ministry attention on this group – which constitutes about one-fourth of America – because they require extra facilities, special attention and sometimes disrupt the service, says Ryan Faulk of Joni & Friends.
‘Of the 61 million American adults living with some sort of disability, there are about 2.25 million who –statistically speaking – should be attending church, but don’t,’ writes Ryan on the Joni & Friends website. ‘A 2018 study from Clemson University shows that children with any kind of disability are less likely than their peers to attend church, and children with autism are nearly twice as likely to never attend a religious service.’
Concerted effort to invaluable people
For the last decade, Gina’s church, Calvary Community of Westlake Village just outside Los Angeles County, has made a concerted effort to accommodate people with ‘special abilities.’
‘They’re invaluable. People with special abilities have such a simple clear understanding of the love of God,’ says Gina, pastor of special abilities at Calvary. ‘They’re not as bogged down by noise and politics and the world and all of the things that can confuse who God is. They have a childlike faith that we can be reminded how simple the love of God can be.’
She added, ‘Beyond that, they help us to understand what it means to serve someone who can’t serve us back quid pro quo. It shows us how it is to love someone and lay down our lives for them.’(more…)