Tips for Disability Accommodation in Church and Ministry Settings
Here are some general tips for disability accommodation that can help your church be a place where everyone belongs and serves.
Celebrate gifts and share needs.
To embrace people with disabilities in your church, encourage a culture where gifts are celebrated, and identifying needs is welcomed.
Invite church leaders to ask all congregation members what gifts they can share with the body of Christ, and what needs they may have. Many disabilities are hidden, and this is an accessible way to connect with everyone. Then, follow up with people with disabilities and their families as needed. They know their gifts (and needs) best! Work to identify the ways the church may be intentionally or unintentionally sidelining people with disabilities.
Involve people with disabilities in decisions.
It can be tempting to make decisions on behalf of people with disabilities, particularly if they have intellectual disabilities. It is important to ensure that people are directly involved with and leading their own planning, wherever possible. When praying for people, find out what that person is seeking prayer for. Sometimes it is presumed that people are seeking physical healing, when that may or may not be something they desire.
Establish a church accessibility policy.
Encourage your governing body to adopt a Church Policy on Accessibility if they have not done so already.
Suggested disability accomodations
Everybody Belongs, Serving Together is a collaboration of RCA and CRCNA Disability Concerns, Christian Horizons, and Elim Christian Services.
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