Enriched by Differences


About 25 years ago, I led Joe (not his real name) through the process of making profession of faith at the church I was serving as a pastor. Years later, Joe began attending the church where my family now attends. When we see each other, we greet warmly and sometimes ask about each other’s family members. When I asked Joe and others from the group home where he lives whether they wanted to do a Bible study together, they agreed eagerly.

We studied the Bible using videos and materials from the Together series, using a unit called “Unwrapping Your Gifts.” We especially enjoyed interacting about the particular gifts each of us has, not only self-identifying our gifts but also identifying the gifts we see in each other. Joe said I have the gift of teaching, and one of his fellow residents said that he has the gift of helping.

Often church small groups gather people who are alike in many ways, including having strong social and verbal skills, but delightful benefits come to groups when participants differ from each other in significant ways. Through this year's Disability Week (October 14 - 21, 2018), Reformed Church in America (RCA) and Christian Reformed (CRC) Disability Concerns ministries encourage churches to explore small groups that involve people with a variety of abilities. Churches can order bulletin inserts (CRC orders, RCA orders) and use the Fall 2018 edition of Breaking Barriers to assist them in this emphasis. 

This article adapted from "Enriched by Differences" in Breaking Barriers, Fall 2018

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