Disability Ministry within Children’s Ministry and ‘normal’ congregational life has always been something of a difficult topic for me because of one simple truth, I have not easily come across teaching tools, easily accessible information or been challenged by anyone about my knowledge of this area. In South Africa I have come across too few churches who cater for these amazing individuals and their families. Awareness is key and thankfully it is increasing through teachings at conferences (specifically Children’s Ministry Conference SA) and by passionate individuals. Therefore I have been trying to search for resources and info via the web and came across almost no interesting websites/ministries devoted to this topic from South Africa. Perhaps they do exist but without a strong web presence.
However to my absolute delight I did immediately come across an American site called Joni and Friends – International Disability Centre.
“The Joni and Friends International Disability Center (IDC) serves as the administrative center for ministries which provide outreach to thousands of families affected by disability around the globe.”
Not only do they supply fantastic resources but the list of various hands-on ministries they provide is so encouraging and truly reveals Christ’s heart for His people. These include Wheels for the World, Family Retreats, Television Series, Radio Program, Christian Institute on Disability and Church Relations.
This is such an inspirational model which is not out of reach for South Africans to take up and run with. My favourite are their family retreats which uplifts the entire family of disabled individuals and ministers to them on a heart level. But please have a look for yourself at www.joniandfriends.org and my prayer is that we as South Africans will be moved into action. Thank you to Joni and her team for following Christ’s call for his children.