First Steps: How to Start a Disability Ministry

First Steps: How to Start a Disability Ministry

Thank you for answering the call from God to reach out to your disability community. Every Disability Ministry is unique based upon the make up of the church and the community. To help you with some common first steps we’ve put together a collection of resources for you to help you get started.

Step One

Pray. This goes without saying, but I am going to say it anyway! First, I want to pray a prayer of thanks over you. You are an answer to our prayers. Second, I want to pray with you. I pray that God would bless your efforts as you seek to be a blessing to God and your community. I pray that God would grant you wisdom and courage on this journey. I pray that He would open doors each time you take a step of faith.

Step Two

Get to know your congregation. 1 in 5 families in your congregation is personally affected by disability. Remember disability isn’t always visible. Network with people in your congregation or consider doing a survey. It is always best to start by meeting the needs of your own people.

Step Three

Get to know your community. Find out how many people are affected by disability in your community by searching the U.S. Census Bureau Quick Facts page.

Another great way to get to know your community is by setting up meetings with the leaders of your disability community. Consider meeting with Special Education Directors in public school systems, the County Board of Developmental Disabilities Superintendent, Independent Day Program Providers, the Director of Special Olympics, the Mayor, the Police Chief, etc. Ask them all this simple question:

How can we be a blessing to the disability community, no strings attached?

Step Four

Create awareness for your staff and congregation. People don’t know what they don’t know. Help your people to see the needs of individuals and families affected by disability in your community. A great way to do this is through sharing personal stories and videos. Feel free to use any of the videos we have created.

Social media is another great tool for creating awareness. We can help you by sharing images, statistics, and customizable graphics that you can use with your own logo.

Step Five

Training your volunteers. You have gotten to the point where people have seen the need and responded. This is where things get both exciting and a bit terrifying. It is okay. Take a deep breath. We can help with training. Check out our training videos.

Beyond these videos we are available to come and do specific onsite training with your volunteers. We can also recommend for you specific training resources based upon your unique ministry outreach.

Step Six

Gather resources. You have heard the saying “leaders are readers.” We have an abundance of resources and we add new resources to our website weekly.

We even offer a six-week small groups study devotional that can be used to organically grow a disability ministry from the grass roots level of your congregation. Check it out in our store.

Because we are a Kingdom minded organization we aren’t afraid to refer you to other great organizations. Make sure to check out The Irresistible Church for more great resources.

Step Seven

Go! It is time. You have done all the hard work and made the proper investments. You are as ready as your will ever be. Jesus commissioned his followers in Matthew 28:19 to “go and make disciples of all nations.” Jesus is now commissioning you too.

Step Eight

Don’t forget that we are here to help. Contact us at any time. We would be glad to partner with you every step of the way.

Ryan Wolfe

It is Ryan’s passion to equip and empower churches, organizations, and individuals to reach their disability communities for Jesus. Ryan, Director of Program Development, comes to Ability Ministry with 15+ years of ministry experience. He previously worked at First Christian Church in Canton, Ohio as their full-time Disability Pastor. He also worked as a Church Consultant for Key Ministry. Micah 6:8 and Proverbs 31:8 best describe Ryan’s commitment to life and ministry.

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