Your church website is the new front door to your church, and if special-needs families can't find the information they need on the website, they may never make it in your church building.
There are 5 details to include on your church website about your disability ministry that will help families feel safe and loved, which will encourage them to come.
- Details about where to go when they come. Parents want to know where to park and what door to come through. Especially if they need handicap parking or your church has spots reserved for families impacted by disability. If your church is large, they don't want to walk in a door on the opposite side of the church from where they need to go.
- Contact information for a real person who can answer their questions. No matter how much info you have on the website, some families want to talk to someone who can answer their questions, whether that's the special-needs ministry coordinator or the church receptionist who can answer some questions and contact the appropriate Sunday school teacher or youth minister to help even more.
- What accommodations you make during your services. Every church has different families who attend and can meet different needs. Potential visitors want to know if you have buddies during Sunday school or a sensory-friendly class. Is there a sign language interpreter? If it's a regular part of your Sunday morning, share it on the site so families know if your church could be a good fit.
- Activities beyond Sunday morning services. We know "church" doesn't just happen on Sunday mornings. You probably also have small groups that meet in homes, or a youth group on Wednesday nights, or an awesome sports camp each summer. Families like mine would love to know what else we'll be able to participate in with our members impacted by disabilities.
- Real pictures of the kids and the accommodations. Make sure you have the permission of the families featured in the photos (especially if it's clear the kids/teens/adults with disabilities are in a class for people with disabilities), but having pictures of the room and people visitors will see when they come will help them feel much more comfortable, especially if they want to create a social story for their child so he/she knows what to expect.
At a recent conference hosted by the ERLC, Scott Sauls had a quote I'm still thinking about. He said churches need to be saying to families like ours, "What can we do to keep you here?" If some simple additions to your website will help reach families so you can share the gospel with them, isn't it worth it? I hope so!