By Michael Ireland, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net)
AGOURA HILLS, CA (ANS, June 27, 2016) – For more than 35 years, Joni and Friends has worked to accelerate ministry to the disability community around the world, offering a wide array of life-affirming ministries.
JAF ministry has included the Christian Institute on Disability, Wheels for the World, international radio and television programs filled with inspirational stories, and Family Retreats, where families affected by disability learn they are not alone.
Now, JAF has released a new e-book to help churches mobilize volunteers.
According to a media release from A. Larry Ross Communications, the third book to launch in the Irresistible Church series by Joni and Friends International Disability Center, “Engaging Game Changers,” is aimed at helping churches recruit, train and coach volunteers who can make a true difference in disability ministry. The book is available as a free Kindle download on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and other online bookstores.
The first book in the series, “Start with Hello,” quickly shot to #1 in the social issues and special needs category on Amazon.com, showing the need for individuals and churches who want to serve the disability community but don’t know where or how to start. The second book, “We’ve Got This!,” introduced an entry-level ministry idea of providing respite for those with disabilities and their families. All of the books are designed to equip churches in becoming inclusive, welcoming communities – or as IrresistibleChurch.org defines it, “authentic communities built on the hope of Christ that compels people affected by disability to fully belong.”
“Engaging Game Changers” emphasizes the importance of volunteers to any disability ministry. The “intangible, immeasurable elements of volunteer involvement are the true heartbeat of special needs ministry,” author Ali Howard writes. “This kind of impact is what really makes volunteers game changers… not only because of the work they accomplish for a very busy ministry, but because of who they are and the influence they have.”
One of the key pieces of advice in the book focuses on volunteer recruitment – a topic with which just about any area of ministry can use help. Strategies covered include who to recruit, how to recruit them and for what purpose. When each of these steps is followed correctly, there should be no shortage of caring and capable volunteers.
In addition to training suggestions and topics to cover, along with accompanying printable resources, “Engaging Game Changers” furthers the process to include coaching – having someone who’s got your back when the game gets tough and you need someone to cheer you on and provide extra knowledge for specific situations.
Howard introduces the analogy with specific recollections of her high school tennis coach when she was struggling as a player. “It was in those moments that my coach would counsel me, giving me pointers and suggestions on how to correct my errors,” she writes. “He challenged me, encouraged me and ultimately he was there when I needed him.” This book equips ministry leaders to become those kinds of coaches for their volunteers.
All of the books in the Irresistible Church series are free, short resources – 50 pages or so. They are written as practical guides to effective special needs ministry, from the very first steps of gauging the need and cataloging available resources. These guidelines are designed to work in any church, no matter the size, budget, or leadership style. Each book includes several free downloadable resources available at the new website, www.IrresistibleChurch.org , also launched by Joni and Friends to equip churches in becoming irresistible.
For more information, please visit www.joniandfriends.org.
Photo captions: 1) ASSIST News Service Founder Dan Wooding with Ken and Joni Eareckson Tada. 2) Michael Ireland.
Note to Editors: For more information or to arrange an interview with a Joni and Friends representatives, please contact Melany Ethridge of A. Larry Ross Communications at 972.267.1111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the writer: Michael Ireland is a volunteer internet journalist serving as Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, as well as an Ordained Minister who has served with ASSIST Ministries and written for ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net) since its beginning in 1989. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China, and Russia.
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