Modern-day churches have programs for nearly every church attendant: children, young adults, women, men and many more. These programs are filled with faithful volunteers who see the value in each specific ministry as a means of growing and edifying the church. Their love is powerful and devoted.
Disability ministry should be no different. It desires and deserves the same support the church gives to other programs. Being “irresistible” in regards to disability ministry is a powerful thing. Those involved with an irresistible ministry are part of a church body that is actively loving and serving those affected by disability.
Too often individuals shy away from disability ministry because it is unfamiliar territory, because it seems more difficult than volunteering with another ministry. Yes, disability ministry operates differently than what one might be used to, but then again doesn’t a children’s program operate different than an adults’? Each program requests different things from their volunteers depending on the needs of that ministry, yet each ministry needs the service of those in the church.
Whether you are currently part of a disability ministry or not I am going to make this simple. The Lord calls us to “go quickly into the streets and the alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame” (Luke 14:21). We are called to not only serve those affected by disability within our own church body, but to become a church that is irresistible to those outside our walls because of the love we display through Christ.
With that said, here are 5 tangible ways to become an irresistible volunteer:
1. Be Patient.
Disability ministry requires your full attention and service. Those affected by disability may display behavior different than your own or may physically differ from yourself. Be patient while you come to understand these differences, and remember that they are learning as much about how you conduct yourself while you are learning about them.
2. Be Loving.
The idea that love conquers all may be cliché, but it is applicable in this context. Love is a universally felt emotion that drives us to go beyond ourselves to serve someone else. Loving those affected by disability is the best way to serve them – it is the best way to serve everybody for that matter.
Especially if working with those affected by disability is new for you, be sure to communicate with the individual you are serving, or their family, to find out what is best for them. If there is someone at your church in charge of the disability ministry, talk to him or her about how you can use your specific gifts within the ministry.
4. Have fun!
Serving in a ministry does not need to feel like work; do it joyfully! Everyone could use a little laughter and fun in their day. This could take the form of games during a service, a fun social event for families affected by disability, or simply expressing your enjoyment to be serving that day.
5. Serve like Jesus did.
As Christians, we are called to imitate Christ. Jesus was the ultimate servant; He was sent from heaven to conquer death in order to redeem those whom He created. Serving in a disability ministry requires Christ-like humility and love, which by His Spirit we are capable of doing. God loves us all more than we could ever hope to imagine, and we are called to love and serve like Him.
Kristen L’Heureux is a senior psychology major at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo. Over the past several years she has served in various disability ministries including an internship at Joni and Friends.