There are some large churches that have very organized and well staffed disability ministries. They have a sizeable budget and may have a specific pastor or other staff member overseeing it. These are the ministries that we often hear about.
But what if you are at church like mine? We are a small church with one pastor and not enough resources to have a specific disability ministry. We have two people with autism in our congregation and it would be difficult to build a ministry around them, especially since once is a child and the other an adult.
I want you to hear this one thing:
YOU DO NOT NEED A DISABILITY MINISTRY TO MINISTER TO THOSE WITH DISABILITIES!
Think about it this way. Our church does not have a specific men’s ministry and yet we minister to the men in our congregation. Ministry does not have to mean separating one group away from the others. We minister to the men, the same way we minister to everyone in the congregation.
The same is true for those with disabilities. I care for the people in our congregation with autism, not because they have autism, but because they are a part of our church family.
Now I understand that disabilities can produce some unique challenges. Physical disabilities are accommodated by making the building wheel chair accessible and having elevators. Developmental disabilities will need their own accommodations.
I will not go into details about how exactly to do that, as there are many posts on this blog, as well as my book, How to Make Your Church-Autism Friendly, which give practical tips.
The main thing is that a church not turn away a person with a disability just because they don’t have a disability ministry. We would not turn away men because we don’t have a men’s ministry. You minister to people with disabilities the same way you minister to anyone, by loving them, treating them with respect and pointing them to Jesus.