The Role of a Church Disability Advocate or Accessibility Coordinator
By identifying a disability champion in your congregation—whether you call that person a “Disability Advocate,” “Accessibility Coordinator,” or something else—you’re taking a first step toward welcoming people with disabilities and their families into full participation in the body of Christ.
One in five people has a disability, which means one in five Christians has a disability. That’s a lot of people who a disability advocate can help your church to be better prepared to welcome, to disciple, to learn from, and to elevate as leaders. A disability advocate can certainly be someone with a disability, but doesn’t have to be. Often people with disabilities have been forced into the role of self-advocacy for much of their lives. They should never be expected to coordinate or advocate for accessibility alone.
The goal of a disability advocate
A disability advocate develops eyes to see the needs and gifts of people with disabilities in your church and helps others do the same. Usually that starts with the needs of the people who are already part of your congregation. But it also means anticipating future needs so you’re ready to welcome people who are looking for a church home. It also means that you’ll be ready to support people in your congregation when they acquire disabilities down the road.
What a disability advocate does
As time, talents, and opportunities permit, disability advocates might be involved in the following activities:
- Identifying the needs of church members with disabilities and working with appropriate church leaders and volunteers to meet these needs.
- Advocating for the adoption of a disability policy by church leaders and assisting in its implementation.
- Encouraging the full experience of belonging with people with disabilities in the life of the church so that their God-given abilities are utilized fully.
- Assisting people with disabilities and their families to find resources for counseling, advocacy, and other agencies that provide information and legal and financial support, including support from governmental sources where appropriate.
- Participating in relevant training opportunities.
- Offering helpful resources, including distribution of appropriate newsletters and other publications.
장애인과 함께하는 포용적인 교회 사역 안내서인 “모두가 속하여, 함께 섬기는” 책자는 미국개혁교회 (RCA), 북미주 개혁교회 (CRCNA), 기독교 지평 (Christian Horizons), 엘림 기독교 봉사 (Elim Christian Services)의 공동작업에 의해 만들어졌습니다.
판권소유. 개혁교회출판부의 허락 없이 이 책자의 전부 혹은 일부를 복제할 수 있습니다. 그런 경우 출처가 표기되어야 하며, 복제된 내용이 책자의 공식적인 버전이 아님을 미리 밝힙니다. 기타 용도로 본 책자를 사용하기 원하시는 경우 개혁교회출판부 (Reformed Church Press) 로 연락을 주시기 바랍니다. (email@example.com; 616-698-7071)