Why do we do it?
What is our purpose?
Setting up and running a group for adults with learning disabilities is just one ministry in our churches. There are children’s groups, groups for elderly people, house groups, women’s and men’s groups, groups to support people with mental illness, groups for people in debt and many other groups as well as church plants, market stalls and many ways of contributing to community involvement.
But we are not a social group for people with learning disabilities. We are not meeting the government’s ‘Big Society’ targets.
We exist to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to anyone we can reach. We focus on communicating that message in the best possible way.
We are unashamed of this fact. Any society, charity or individual can do the social bit. Only the church (in that it is God’s people) can bring the message of grace and life that is the Gospel.
A couple of years ago we had two ladies come to our group with their carer. They said they had heard there was a drama group going on at the church.
We said, we are not a drama group. We are a group that teaches the Bible, using drama, craft, singing, puppets and clear language. They came along anyway. Two years later those women are full and active members of our group and keen to share Jesus with others.
I have had the extreme pleasure this week of meeting other people who long to make their churches more inclusive.
On Thursday I went to hear Mark Arnold from Urban Saints doing an evening session called “All Inclusive?”. Please do look at this and consider joining – I find it a great group to chat and share ideas. http://www.urbansaints.org/pages/13054/Additional_Needs_Alliance.htm
On Saturday I joined the Liverpool Network supported by Through the Roof, led by Tim Wood the CEO. http://www.throughtheroof.org/
I cannot express how awed I am at the work God is doing in different places and how lovely it was to meet such passionate and willing people. Whatever church we are from (and so many denominations were represented….hurray!) the Gospel is still the cord that ties us all together in God’s grace, that we don’t deserve and makes our styles and traditions immaterial.
I can’t wait to see what God will do in the Liverpool network and hopefully we will be looking at setting up a North West Network sometime in the near future, so that all who are and are willing to serve together with people with additional needs can support one another, teach others and allow Jesus to welcome everyone into his inclusive church.