Supporting churches to include people with Autism and Learning Disabilties

Ephesians 1:13   “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation.
When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,” 

Apparently there are people who don’t see the point of preaching the gospel to people with learning disabitlies.  I once had an elderly priest who asked me why I was teaching the Bible to adults with LD when “they had the mind of a three year old?” 

But the Bible is very clear on a number of things:

  1. The Gospel has to be preached to ALL nations;  that is,  EVERYONE in the world.
  2. The Gospel is good news for ALL who believe. 
  3. Salvation is because of what Jesus did, not because of anything we do. 
  4. No-one who believes is excluded. 

It is just as important to preach the Gospel to adults with Additional Needs as it is to preach it to anyone else.  Whatever their level of understanding is,  the Gospel can be made accessible to them.  We have to be careful we don’t end up stood before God trying to excuse the fact that see didn’t preach to a whole section of our community because we didn’t think they would have understood… And that’s why the Good News Group exists. (Other groups do this too…see Prospects website for more details) 

There are a few of us who do the Bible teaching at Good News Group now. It’s great because the burden doesn’t then fall on one person every time. Bob, one of my fellow leaders puts together a teaching plan which means we have a structure and flow to what we teach. For each session he identifies a one-sentence teaching point which is our main focus and ties all the sessions together.  For example, recently we did the claims of Jesus.  From “I am the bread of life’ to “I am the way” the teaching was consistent and flowed into the Good News of who Jesus said he was and why we believe in him.  This term we are learning about the story of Ruth,  before we launch into our Christmas service preparations. (More about that in my next post).    I want to thank Gill, Dave, Ruth, Lorriane, Benji and Amanda for all being willing to prepare and engage our group in learning from the Bible.

I like to have a go too. It is such an honour to read and work out how to explain the Bible passage in a simpler but not childish way.  I can honestly say that I have learned so much about God’s Word through having to examine words closely and having to rewrite complex text into shorter sentences.  Picking out the key information and keeping the essence of the story intact is something we’ve all had to learn. 

However, my last talk was made slightly easier because I pinched and idea from our minister, Dave Lewis.  Months ago he’d done an all age service based on the gospel tract “Two Ways to Live” and delivered the message through the medium of paint!  I thought at the time I could do that with the Good News Group and so when I was asked to do the session about the gospel message,  I was chuffed to be able to try it out. 

After simplifying the text from the website /  Two ways to Live presentation / I prepared my materials and Bible passages from the Easy English version.  So, after you’ve read the presentation from the website you will understand what I’m doing in these photos…

          
     
   
And it was really fun to finish it with a puppet monologue about how much God really loves us. 

 
And do you know what?  Some of our group responded,  telling us they believe in Jesus.  Others are non verbal, but we know they believe because they respond in so many other ways.  We know those who are still thinking about it and we know there are a good number of carers who come,  who hear the message too.  All we need to know is that it is our job to preach and God’s job to save.  Funny how it works that way ! 

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Comments on: "The Gospel for Adults With Additional Needs" (2)

  1. AccessAbility SMyles said:

    For over 30 years we have been doing the same both here in Wiltshire as we did in Bedford. Agree 100% with all you say. New works are being established all over the south west too! A new Prospects group is being established in Yate. Pete Winmill is doing a Skills Day there on Saturday.Still room for people to book in and go along. Just visit http://www.prospects.org.uk and Events.

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