The word “church” often comes loaded with a lot of feeling, whether positive or negative. But perhaps more dangerous than any strong feelings are a lack of feelings toward church. There’s great danger for those who feel “church” is as emotionally charged as a glass of tepid tap water. And for many people with disabilities, the struggle to find a church that is accessible, welcoming, and empowering has led them to cool on church.
But why is this a problem? There are two key truths that make this an issue that not only affects people with disabilities, but churches, as well!
Firstly: Believers need one another.
The New Testament is filled to the brim with “one another” verses.
“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you…”
“Serve one another in love.”
“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.”
“Spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”
And these are just a sampling of nearly 100 verses that address such “one anothers.” These verses might be used to finger wag at those who aren’t part of a church, as if the burden rested solely on their determination and will. But for people with disabilities, this is not always the case.
Which leads us to our second insight: Believers have a responsibility to one another.
Paying attention to the barriers that people with disabilities face in the church is not an act of charity toward those with disabilities, but an act of service to the church! The church needs people with disabilities as much as people with disabilities need the church. For many individuals and families, they are simply burnt out on looking. This makes the call in Galatians 6:2 to, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ,” even more urgent.
These burdens may be emotional, financial, medical, spiritual, or relational. And for those with lifelong disabilities, even knowing how to ask for help can become a burden too heavy to carry. This makes a proactive and pursuing church a necessity! Again: this is not just to the benefit of the person with a disability. It is a benefit to the church, too.
We have a need for one another. We have a responsibility to one another.
The church was not man’s idea: it was God’s.
When you pursue people with disabilities, you are pursuing the heart of God. Doing so doesn’t take expertise, but it does take intentionality. For practical support and help, contact us today.