person reading map in parked car overlooking road.

Roadmap for Church Disability Advocates: From the First Step To Success!

  184 views

Step 1: An Overview of the Role: What To Know as You Consider Joining Our Ministry

(We encourage you to consider this role to be a 2 year commitment, renewable)

  • Identify the needs of church members living with a disability (and their loved ones) and together explore with church leaders appropriate ways for the church to respond.

  • Encourage the full inclusion of people with disabilities in the life of the church so that their God-given abilities are utilized fully.

  • Assist people with disabilities and their families (as appropriate) to identify needed resources.

  • Offer Disability Concerns resources to the congregation, including Breaking Barriers.

  • Advocate for the adoption of a Church Disability Policy by church leaders and assist in its implementation.

  • Establish and implement annual goals to improve the congregation's welcome and engagement of people with disabilities.

  • Communicate yearly with the Regional (Classis) Advocate for Disability Concerns and participate in training opportunities when possible.

(See: Disability Advocate Job Description)

Next steps:

Step 2: Onboarding Process: What You Can Expect From Us as You Step Into This Role

  • We will reach out to your regional advocate to let them know of your desire to serve on the team (if they haven’t already reached out to let us know about you already!)

  • You will receive a welcome letter from the Disability Concerns ministry which outlines a number of resources for you and provides you with contact information on your Regional advocate

  • We will reach out to your church council to let them know of your desire to serve and offer them ideas of how they can notify your church that you have stepped into this role.

  • We will also note whether your church has a disability policy and encourage your church to start this discussion as a team if they currently do not have a church disability policy

  • We will send you a hard copy of the Inclusion Handbook

Step 3: Get Connected To the Ministry!

Disability Concerns offers a number of resources for you. Being a part of this ministry means being a part of a team. You are not in this alone. You can follow us through our online activity, as well as through person-to-person connections. We encourage you to connect with our resources and the larger community to feel like you are part of a very important movement towards a fully inclusive church community!

To connect with us online:

We will connect you as well! We will add your name to the following:

  • The Breaking Barriers Quarterly Newsletter

    • This newsletter is a theme-based newsletter that is written by you! Articles in this newsletter are written by people in our disability community.

  • The Disability Concerns monthly e-newsletter

    • This e-newsletter is a great way to stay up-to-date on what is happening in our community: events, book clubs, valuable articles, etc.

  • Our own private Disability Concerns Facebook Group: this is a space designed for:

    • Receiving more personal updates on members (births, deaths, etc) in our group that we would not share with the larger FB community

    • Learning about events we are hosting

    • Reaching out for resources from the collective group

    • Reaching out to other church advocates for advice

Step 4: Receiving Support in Your Role

Interpersonal Support

You will receive contact information for your regional advocate when you join our team. Feel free to reach out to them at any point. As a ministry staff, we are also here to support you. Some of our classes do not have regional advocates, and in that case, feel free to reach out to our staff team for any questions. 

Resources

Our main way to connect to our advocates is through the Network. We are frequently uploading new content to the Network and posting about webinars and events that will support you in your role. Be sure to follow us on the Network to feel supported in your role!

Step 5: Defining Your Goals: We Ask That You Devote 2 To 4 Hours/Month for This Role

Monthly Goals

  • Connecting with your church community: supporting people with disabilities and their families 

  • Connecting with your larger DC community: research, networking, etc. with other advocates, DC ministry staff

Yearly Goals

  • Within your Church:

In the CRC, Disability Sunday falls on the third Sunday in October every year, and on the second Sunday in the RCA. We encourage you to reach out to your church council and pastor and support them as they plan for this week. We create a bulletin insert that is added to your own church bulletin. We encourage your church to receive an offering for our ministry that week. Every year our ministry will post an article on the network such as this one:  Resources for Disability Week and Disability Sunday 2020 to assist you in developing a Disability Awareness Sunday for your church. Also, we encourage you to meet with your deacons at least once a year to talk about how best to support the people with disabilities and their families who are part of your congregation. 

  • Within your region:

Connect at least once a year with your regional disability community of advocates in the form of a regional group meeting that will be hosted by your regional advocate. This is an opportunity to meet other church advocates in your region and ask questions and get advice from your team. 

  • Within our ministry

Attend at least one training event offered through our ministry (this could take the form of a conference, leadership training event, webinar, book club, etc. We will highlight all events you can participate in on The Network and our Facebook page.)

  • With your Regional Advocate

Connect 1:1 at least once a year with your regional advocate to update them on your church: challenges, successes, etc. However, please don’t hesitate to reach out to them at any time throughout the year as you need ongoing support! 

Disability Concerns Ministry is able to provide ongoing support to our congregations thanks to the ongoing work of our volunteers! Thank you!

Posted in:
Image Credit

The Network hosts user-submitted content.
Posts don't necessarily imply CRCNA endorsement, but must comply with our community guidelines.

Let's Discuss…

We love your comments! Thanks for your help upholding the Community Guidelines to make this an encouraging and respectful community for everyone.