Under God’s Great Commission to share the Good News of Jesus with all people, Christians have always wanted to include those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. But beginning or adapting a Bible class, worship service or even a fellowship event to meet their special needs may seem to have some big obstacles.
Our Jesus Cares Ministries (JCM) team members are here to help you and your congregation see how to overcome those challenges. Every situation differs. There may be many people to serve or few; many potential volunteers or few; long distances to travel or short; open cooperation from group homes or hesitancy to work with your church.
1. Making contact
Your first consideration for starting a JCM program may come when an acquaintance tells you about the great things happening at a neighboring congregation, you see a newspaper article or you hear a presentation about JCM at your church.
JCM may also contact your church if we see a significant opportunity to serve people in your area, or we are asked by someone to help follow-up on a reported opportunity.
2. Learning more about starting JCM programs
We invite you to read more about JCM Bible classes and worship services.
Visiting a nearby JCM program at another church could let you see some of the blessings of a JCM Bible class or worship service. You can see when congregations hold there programs.
You are also encouraged to contact us to have a JCM team member come to answer questions and share more detailed information at your church. We are happy to help you.
3. Organizing and planning
This is an area where our JCM team can really offer direction and assistance as you start your program.
We can help you:
- Understand how to find the people in your area with disabilities
- Find and use teaching, worship and activity tools.
- Provide training for volunteers to help them understand people with special needs and how to communicate God’s love to them.
- Create sample invitations for events.
We also offer:
- Continuing support
- Opportunities to hear from other groups what has worked in their programs
We continue to develop and share new curriculum options and other tools for this ministry.
Please note: Before planning what you think you want to do and how you want to do it, please try to find out what the people you hope to serve want and need. As you plan when and where to hold an event and what type of activities to include, you learn what will work for everyone. Consider the people from your congregation who will benefit, but also consider others with disabilities in the greater community. Again, this is an area where we can provide assistance.
4. Hold your JCM program
When you hold your first JCM program, don’t be discouraged if there are more volunteers than participants or overwhelmed if you find the challenge of needing more help. Pray in either instance, and take time to grow. Thank those who came, and continue to look for ways to invite others.
5. Continue developing your program
After each event, you will learn something new for your program. You will also continue to find new ways to reach out to the community.
Our JCM team members continue to be available as a resource for you. We continue to offer volunteer workshops to provide opportunities to increase your knowledge about this outreach ministry, share your experiences and learn from others.
We are happy to help you begin a JCM program at your church.
Contact one of our JCM team members to begin!