Our Key Ministry team is wading into a very busy time of the year for ministry training. Last weekend, Sandra had the privilege of presenting at the Engage Conference in Fayetteville Arkansas, presented by our friends at 99Balloons. Both Sandra and myself were in Atlanta this past weekend for the Together Special Needs Ministry Conference, hosted by Mount Paran Church. I’ll be in Houston from the 22nd to the 24th of this month for a private church training event, and our team would love to see you at Inclusion Fusion Live on April 5th and 6th at Bay Presbyterian Church in suburban Cleveland.
One of our teammates shared some interesting observations after reviewing our conference registrations. As of a little more than a week ago, attendees from twenty different states had already registered. Much to our surprise, the majority of our attendees are traveling from out of state. Beth Golik (our conference coordinator) has commented about the lengths to which some of our guests are going to be able to join us.
While we’re thrilled that so many folks interested in disability ministry will be part of our conference, we know that for everyone attending there are probably ten more pastors, ministry leaders and family members who would like to come but lack the time and the travel budget to attend.
Our team has a vision that every pastor, church staff member and volunteer ought to be able to access disability ministry training of the highest quality without having to travel further than a half-day drive from their home. What we need is something akin to the PGA or ATP tours, or the NASCAR circuit…regularly scheduled events held in each region of the country in which ministry leaders and trainers from all of our different organizations come together to share their gifts, talents and knowledge for the benefit of all who serve in that geographic area.
What would need to happen for this type of vision to come together?
Disability ministry organizations with a national scope would need to come together to embrace the vision. The national organizations could come together to provide trainers for and pool their communication tools and social media platforms to help promote the regional conferences.
Local organizers would provide a physical location and volunteer resources for a conference, manage registration and regional promotion and secure modestly priced hotel accommodations for attendees staying overnight. They could reach out to the national organizations for speakers who could train on topics of interest to ministry leaders throughout their region and supplement their presence through providing teaching opportunities for up and coming ministry leaders.
More and more regional disability ministry networks are coming together as churches are seeking to collaborate with one another to better support families and make the best possible use of limited resources. I was very impressed during my trip to Atlanta by the stories of how large churches are cooperating with one another offer the families they serve a wider selection of services and supports. Hosting a conference might be a great way for like-minded churches to promote the expansion of disability ministry throughout their regions.
How do we make such a conference circuit a reality?
If you’re a disability ministry leader with an interest in hosting a conference in a region where this type of training is unavailable, feel free to reach out to us. One we get through with Inclusion Fusion Live, our team would be happy to speak more with you regarding our experience with putting on an event for several hundred persons. If your church or regional organization is led to move forward, we’d be delighted to help connect you with other like-minded ministries to help fill out your program and promote your event.
The photo above was taken yesterday at Mount Paran’s Together Conference. They started their church’s special needs ministry six years ago. I found ten or fifteen attendees wandering around outside confused as to where to go when I arrived because the conference had become so large since last year that it was necessary to move the event into the church’s Great Hall. There were several hundred people there! That’s the impact their church has had in a relatively short time.
Pastors and ministry leaders are clearly hungry for help in starting new ministries or growing existing ministries. What can we do to make it easier for them to get the help they need?
Consider joining us in Cleveland on April 5th and 6th for Inclusion Fusion Live. Christ- followers from around the country are coming together to be encouraged and equipped to better serve families affected by disability who attend their churches. IFL is for ministry leaders, families, and persons serving in disability care fields. All-day intensives are offered on starting a special needs ministry and developing a mental health inclusion strategy. Options to bring an entire church team or sponsor families from your congregation are available. Click here for easy registration.