Looking for a church that welcomes all people, regardless of ability? Wanting to get the word out about what your church is doing? Interested in other churches in your area that are engaging in special needs ministry? Then check these listings out...
Joni & Friends website
Joni Eareckson Tada is one of the longest-serving and most-respected disability ministry leaders, and her organization has on online listing of churches offering special needs ministry. Here's the listing for my church. Here's the link to search for a church by zip code (just scroll down until you see the search box on the right side of the page). And here's the link to go to if you'd like to register for an account so that you can add your church; in order to post your church, you need to agree to their statement of faith, found here (though note that you don't have to print and sign that form, even though it looks like you do; agreeing online is sufficient).
Autism Speaks resource listing
Autism Speaks, in addition to the other work they do, has a list of community resources on their website, and one category is "Religious Resources." You can view our church's listing here, and you can find other listings by going to this page, clicking on your state, scrolling down to the list titled Community and Support Network, and clicking on "Religious Resources." To add your church or organization to the listing, go here; you get to describe what you offer in 500 characters or less, and the resource will post after their Family Services team approves it. If you have any questions about their listing, email me and I'll can put you in direct contact with Ali, the Communications Manager for Family Services.
Interfaith Disability Network "Worshiplink" database
Here's another listing. This isn't limited to Christian churches and ministries, so if you're a parent looking for a place to worship Jesus, take note that you will find churches listed there, but you'll also find synagogues, temples, and mosques. I haven't added our church, but I am about to do so by following these instructions from their website: "If you are a faith community and would like to be added to the database, please e-mail: Mark@Interfaithdisability.org."
If you know of any other listings for churches, please let me know and I'll add them to this post!
How can you use these listings?
If you have a disability or have a family member with special needs, these are good listings to check in your church search. (It could even help you find a church to visit if you're out of town on a Sunday morning.) If you are a ministry leader, you can add a listing. You can also turn to the listings to find out about other disability ministries in your area so you can network and learn from each other.
And, finally, see these lists, and be encouraged. Christians care. Churches are welcoming. Christ's love is being shared with and the gospel being proclaimed to all people...regardless of ability.