The neighbor across the street, the server at your favorite restaurant, the grocery clerk you see each week, the coworker you see every day—we read in Genesis 1 that each of us is created in God’s image. We are reminded in Psalm 139 that we were knitted together in our mother’s womb, and we praise God because we are all fearfully and wonderfully made.
God also has designed each of us with a unique set of abilities to complement one another as a church family and to proclaim the name of Jesus. Paul describes this for us in Romans 12:4-5: “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”
John 9 tells the story of when Jesus and His disciples encountered a man blind from birth.
After seeing the man, the disciples asked Jesus, “‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’” (John 9:2).
Jesus replies, “‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned … but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him’” (John 9:3).
Jesus’ answer is unmistakably clear: God did not intend for this man’s life to be defined by his limitations. Instead, the man’s life, like yours and mine, was intended to glorify God and proclaim the life-changing power of Jesus.
Jesus’ words in John 9 provide a strong foundation for the Shine Disabilities Ministry team at Southeast Christian Church. We confidently believe the Gospel is for all people who have faith in Jesus, regardless of their abilities, social standing or culture. The central goal for our ministry is that all people would know the Good News of Jesus Christ and that disciples would be made for God’s glory.
So how do we do that?
The Shine Ministry does this by wrecking the roof one person at a time. As a ministry team, we relate closely to the charge to “Wreck the Roof,” one of Southeast’s five Mantras, which expresses the value of doing whatever it takes to get people in front of Jesus.
Whether it’s helping create an inclusive weekend worship experience, providing weekend classes for children and adults or hosting annual events like the Shine Gala or Camp Freedom, our goal is to do whatever it takes to connect families impacted by disabilities to Jesus and one another.
Our ministry team and our church staff strive to make our weekend worship services accessible to all people. Worship lyrics are translated into Braille and are available at the Connection Center at the Blankenbaker, Indiana and Chapel in the Woods campuses, while large print worship lyrics are provided at the atrium entry to the Worship Center at Blankenbaker. American Sign Language interpreting is provided for the 10:10 a.m. worship service at the Southwest Campus as well as the 11:15 a.m. service at the Blankenbaker Campus.
Weekend groups, including classes for adults and teens and groups for parents and caregivers in the special needs community at the Blankenbaker Campus on Sundays, are a vital element for our ministry. We also provide a variety of programming options for children with special needs, including sensory friendly rooms, classroom buddies and individualized support.
One upcoming event, the indispensABLE Conference, hosted by the Shine Ministry and Ability Ministry, a Southeast partner that cares for adults with special needs, is a great way for families, caregivers, churches and other professionals throughout the area to learn more about ministering to adults and families in the disabilities community. The conference is Saturday, March 21, and the cost is $15 before Jan. 31. Registration is available at www.southeastchristian.org.
We’re thankful for our church’s commitment to the mission of our ministry, and we’re excited for the future, which includes the launch of the Shine Ministry Suite at the Blankenbaker Campus this spring. We are blessed by the sacrificial service from our wonderful team of volunteers who help make everything we do possible. And we praise God for all of the families touched by disabilities who allow us to walk through life with them.
For more information on how to get connected with Shine Disabilities Ministry at any of our campuses, email email@example.com or call (502) 253-8126.
Garett Wall is Southeast’s Shine Disabilities Ministry associate.