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Making the Call: We are Here for You

Dori Dykstra, Church and Volunteer Associate for Disability Concerns, and Mark Stephenson, Director of Disability Concerns

Dori has been serving with Disability Concerns for about four years and shares her learnings as well as her posture of ministry when she contacts a congregation.  She has experience talking with over 700 churches about ways they can and do engage in ministry with people with disabilities and their families!

Dori shares her practice of preparing and speaking with people from a congregation about the ministry of Disability Concerns.  She finds the church website a great place to start getting to know who the leaders are, the size of the church, and what groups and ministries they focus on.  Doing a cold call can be challenging, but feeling like she has a sense of the congregation and its mission really helps her make the initial call. 

“Disability Concerns is here to support their church” is the key message Dori strives to convey in the conversation.  She also explores with them what disability means and looks like – disabilities that are physical and disabilities that are more hidden like learning disabilities and mental illnesses.  Dori often shares stories of her own experiences of loved ones with disabilities.  She promotes Disability Concerns’ resources like the Inclusion Handbook, monthly e-newsletter, and other materials.  She always asks if the church has a current disability advocate, and if not, how might the church approach someone to take on this ministry role.  This initial contact may take time and some persistence!  Dori emphasizes the importance of remaining grounded in the mission of helping churches be places where everybody serves and everybody belongs!

Some questions for you to reflect on in preparing to engage others in the ministry of Disability Concerns:

  • What are the gifts you offer in supporting congregations and how will you work to share them in creating places where everybody belongs and everybody serves?
  • What are your own experiences with disability that you might want to share?
  • What is your advice to congregations that do not have anyone presently serving as a disability advocate?
  • If you have five minutes or half an hour, what is one goal you have for the conversation?

For more information, check out these posts:

Subscribe to Disability Concerns' YouTube Channel for more resources!

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