We Must Be Prepared

Recently, a friend shared a story about one of her friends who has a child with autism. The family was told by the pastor of a church that they had nothing there for them. In essence, he was saying, you’re not welcome here because we are not prepared for you.

Really?! The church has nothing for a family with a child with disability? What about Jesus? What about community? Jesus himself said, “let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14).

Shouldn’t the church be the most inclusive place on the planet? When it is not, the church is sending the following message to families living with disability: you are not welcome here if you or your child has a need that requires more than what we already provide.

Sadly, this isn’t an isolated incident.  It’s a story I’ve heard a hundred times or more over the last decade and it breaks my heart. Pastors and churches with the message ‘we don’t have anything for you’ are forgetting that these are individuals and families that need relationship with God and a place of belonging. This may be the one chance they have to encounter Jesus and spend eternity with Him.

Including individuals and families with needs isn’t rocket science, it’s intentional. It starts with welcoming them and getting to know them and sharing the love of Jesus with them. Isn’t that why the church exists, to share Jesus with people in the world who need him?

Choosing to be non-inclusive means choosing to overlook or ignore 17%* of the community with the Good News of Jesus Christ. I don’t think any pastor or church would say that is okay with them.

If you need assistance in learning best practices for including individuals and families impacted by disability in the life of your church, let us help you. As the church, we must do better, we must be prepared.

Making Jesus accessible,
Joe Butler
*(CDC stats)