By Jeremy Reynalds, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service (firstname.lastname@example.org)
AGOURA HILLS, CALIF. (ANS – March 13, 2016) In its ongoing efforts to assist churches in better serving individuals with disabilities in their communities, Joni and Friends International Disability Center has launched a blog and online community, www.irresistiblechurch.org.
According to a news release made available to the ASSIST News Service, free resources include The Irresistible Church Series of books, including the first, “Start with Hello,” released on the free Kindle list recently, rising to top place in two different categories.
In addition to these short and practical books, the website posts inspirational videos, personal stories of individuals involved in disability ministry, downloadable surveys and instructional guides.
As the news release says, the website is “anything anyone would ever need to start a disability ministry in their church, no matter the size, budget or leadership style.”
“We’ve just launched and have already received so many comments on the site as to how this is exactly what is needed,” said Marc Stein, vice president of field services, speaking in the news release.
He continued, “We want to equip church leaders and volunteers to help their churches become irresistible, which we define as an authentic community built on the hope of Christ that compels people affected by disability to fully belong.”
Stein added, “That idea of fully belonging is key, and irresistiblechurch.org reassures individuals and churches that this goal is both approachable and attainable.”
New blog posts will run often, and a podcast will launch in the near future. The news release noted that experts are available to answer questions posted by users, making it a “true community online.”
Many of the individuals involved in the project share their own stories of experience with disability.
They include being rejected by a church because a child with developmental disabilities was “disruptive,” having their child with dyslexia being mortified to be made to read aloud in Sunday School, or having their child with separation anxiety not allowed to attend worship with his parents.
The news release said, “These examples show those who truly desire to become irresistible that sometimes it’s simply a matter of attitude adjustment and flexibility, no large budgets or special equipment needed.”
Future “Irresistible Church” series book titles will launch every few weeks, all remaining free to download in pdf or epub formats, as well as on Kindle and 350 other books sites including Barnes and Noble.
Included on the website will be resources such as a church facility accessibility checklist and a guide to disability etiquette.
The website is designed to be entry level, with different tracks for church leaders, volunteers, and family members and caregivers. It also lists disability ministry events around the country that offer additional training and inspirational opportunities.
For those wanting to go deeper, the website connects them with Joni and Friends’ Christian Institute on Disability.
Joni and Friends has worked for more than 35 years to accelerate ministry to the disability community around the world, offering a wide array of ministries.
For more information, www.joniandfriends.org.
Photo captions: 1) Ken Tada with his wife, Joni Eareckson Tada. 2) This pictures says it all about God’s view on disability. 3) Dan and Peter Wooding with Joni Eareckson Tada and husband, Ken, at a previous NRB convention in Nashville. 4) Jeremy and Elma Reynalds.
About the writer: Jeremy Reynalds is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico’s largest emergency homeless shelter, www.joyjunction.org. He has a master’s degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. His newest book is “From Destitute to Ph.D.” Additional details on “From Destitute to Ph.D.” are available at www.myhomelessjourney.com. Reynalds lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his wife, Elma. For more information contact: Jeremy Reynalds at email@example.com.
Note: If you would like to help support the ASSIST News Service, please go to www.assistnews.net and click on the DONATE button to make your tax-deductible gift (in the US), which will help us continue to bring you these important stories. If you prefer a check, please make it out to ASSIST and mail it to: PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609, USA. Thank you.
** You may republish this or any of our ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net).