Modern-day churches have programs for nearly every church attendant: children, young adults, women, and men. These programs are filled with faithful volunteers who see the value in each specific ministry as a means of growing and edifying the church. But when it comes to disability ministry, individuals sometimes shy away from the unfamiliar territory, it can seem more difficult than volunteering with another ministry. Yes, disability ministry may operate differently than what you may be used to, but then again doesn’t a children’s program operate different than one for adults? Each program requires different things from their volunteers depending on the needs of that particular ministry, and the needs of those in the church.
Whether you are currently part of a disability ministry or not, the Lord’s call is simple: “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.
So for this National Volunteer Week, 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 differ from you physically. Be patient while you come to understand these differences, and remember you are both learning from each other.
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 everyone.
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 can use a little laughter and fun. This can 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 Served
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 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 disability ministry volunteer and has served in various disability ministries over the past several years. Kristen also served as a Joni and Friends intern.