Before you jump into the article, let me give you a little context because you'll be entering in mid-conversation. As I mentioned, this post is coming on the heels of the release of a book about what the church's mission truly is. In response to some reviews, Kevin shares here about what his church does that might be categorized as social justice and what they don't/won't do on that front. It's a good practice to do that with your own special needs ministries: what do you do, and what won't you do?
One example would be the way that Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, TX, uses iPads in disability ministry. Meaghan Wall shared with me when I visited their church that they do use apps for Bible memory, Christian songs, and other faith-building activities, but they don't use therapy-related apps.
Why? Because that's not their purpose as a church.
Likewise, several of Kevin's points about what his church does not do resonate with our approach to disability ministry at Providence Baptist Church, particularly the following. We are not all about:
We do at times partner with secular organizations - for example, several are publicizing our upcoming respite event and a few are contributing volunteers for it as well - but we're still a church and we still will use the name of Christ in what we do and say. If people are seeking a secular respite care experience, then they can tap into resources outside of the church, although those pickings are slim. If they want therapies or social stories apart from Christ, then the church isn't the best vehicle for providing that. We don't want to just replicate secular social services within a church building.
- Focusing a lot of our energies, resources, and people on good effort that will be well-supported by governments and non-Christians.
- Partnering with teams or agencies that do not allow evangelism.
- Running social services for the community out of our church.
- Undertaking charitable projects or missions endeavors that make us feel good but don’t actually help those we serve and may actually take away their dignity or foster dependence.
We have something much greater to offer than that.
Now I know the social justice/evangelism debate can get fiery, but I think we can all stand a little heat while keeping in mind that we have the most important thing - Christ - in common, right? And I'll also add that my understanding of scripture doesn't make it an either/or proposition; we can (and should) be about sharing Christ in word and deed.
So - all that said - what are your thoughts on this?