Last week, we talked about the most important step for starting an inclusion ministry: PRAYER. We also discussed the importance of assessing a church’s culture prior to beginning a new program. This allows volunteers, staff, and families to find a common starting point and identify how to launch the ministry successfully.
Once this is done, we recommend that people determine the model of ministry that will best fit the church’s culture and the needs of the community. Of course, no two ministries will be exactly alike (because no two churches are exactly alike!) However, we have identified three main models for launching an inclusion ministry:
- The Program Approach…This approach begins with an individual or small group who feels led to start a program. The senior pastor, children’s pastor or elder board approves the idea and then a committee forms to plan strategies, formulate processes, market the ministry and recruit volunteers.
- The Outreach Approach…This method focuses first on outreach events such as respite nights, game nights for kids with special needs, Prom outreaches, etc. As with the “Program” Approach, much planning and strategizing must take place to execute an event. In addition, a follow-up team should be identified to allow for relationships to form with event guest; this ultimately helps those guests and their families become connected with the church
- The One Kid Approach…In this scenario, a volunteer or pastor is aware of at least one child or family who needs extra support due to a disability. The ministry starts with “one kid” as staff and volunteers learn the best ways to support and help this family. From there, the program grows (often speedily!) as word reaches the community that the church is willing and able to support children with a variety of needs.
What approach has worked for you and your church? Leave a comment here, so that others can learn from your experiences! Need help determining your next step? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or write a comment. Remember, we’re all part of the Church (with a CAPITAL C!); it makes good sense to help each other and share ideas.
Step by step!