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17 Mar '13

Embracing all of God's people

Posted by T.J. Addington in inclusive ministry, special needs
I had a wonderful experience recently. Before I spoke at a church conference the senior pastor came up to me and said, "I don't know if you are aware that we have a ministry to those with mental disabilities in our church. In the first service they usually sit in the front and in the second service in the back. If you hear some strange noises or see people walking around during the service, don't worry, we are all used to it." 

Sure enough there were a few in both services that I had the privilege to interact with after the message and between services. Contrast that with another church that removed an individual from the services because his disability might cause a "distraction."

One cannot imagine Jesus marginalizing anyone! When some protested that the little children were doing just that he pointedly turned His attention to them. The sick, the lame, the demon possessed, the prostitutes, tax collectors and the lepers all found in Him a friend. They are also made in His image and of equal importance to Him and therefor to His family.

I was proud of this congregation that was more concerned for all of God's people than that they had a "perfect" service or one in this case without interruption. I am always encouraged when I find churches who embrace all of God's people rather than the ones who fit our criteria. The irony is that we all have issues in our lives: some of us are just better at hiding them than others.