What is our vision?
Reformed Presbyterian Church exists to be a stream of God’s refreshing grace for people from all walks of life. We are called to include people with disabilities in all aspects of our Christian community, so that they too may experience the Father’s healing grace, and in turn, minister that grace to others. We live in a society where a person’s value is determined by their productivity. We believe that, in God’s economy, individuals have significance simply because they are created in the image of God. We desire to be a church that ministers TO and ALONGSIDE people with differing abilities out of our deep understanding of our common need for grace.
Who do we serve?
Disability Ministry serves individuals with varying degrees of disability who require assistance in order to fully participate in the body life of the church. Disabilities cover a huge spectrum, and while we recognize the validity of each disability, our ministry historically has focused on those whose disability somehow hinders their full participation in the body life of the church.
What do we do?
We facilitate the integration of people with disabilities into the body life of the church.
Barriers to meaningful participation in a group can exist in many forms. The beauty of the gospel — if we truly understand it — is that each of us faces a complete barrier to participation in the Kingdom of God due to the profoundly disabled condition of our hearts. The Good News is that Christ’s sacrifice applied to us makes our full participation in the life of God a reality. When we understand the supreme sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf, how can we ignore the needs of those who are merely physically or mentally disabled and seeking to join in the fellowship of the local church?
Our commitment is to work toward a “win-win” situation where every individual, regardless of disability status, who participates in our congregational life experiences a deep understanding of the gospel and finds a place to use their God-given gifts.
We educate the congregation on issues of disability in the context of ministry.
Even in the 21st century, our society comes too often to the issues of disability with fear and stereotypes. Our educational efforts are aimed at facilitating meaningful ministry and the development of relationships within the body of Christ. We have used several vehicles over the years to assist in our educational objectives, including church newsletter articles, disability awareness training seminars, teacher training and occasional Sunday services with a disability emphasis.
As we are able, we provide guidance and practical assistance to other RPC ministries as they seek to include those with disabilities in their programming. We stand ready to help other RPC ministries identify and utilize the gifts given to our members who live with disability.
We promote outreach to people with disabilities.
RPC has been gifted with members who have a heart for disability ministry, a downtown location, an accessible building and strategic relationships with other disability ministry organizations in the community and beyond.
We have learned that we don’t have the resources to meet every need; but, more often than not, when families contact us about whether we can minister to one of their family members with a disability, our answer is, “We’d like to try.” God has been gracious, and many of those tries have become enduring relationships.
Why do we do what we do?
We wish our ministry to be one of Biblical, principle-driven vision.
To fully grasp the real vision behind disability ministry, we need to understand that it is a pro-life ministry in the broadest sense. The Bible teaches that our significance comes not from what we do, but from who we are and whose we are. It is being created in the image of God himself that imparts value to human life — any human life — regardless of the contribution that person can make to society. It is altogether possible that when the elderly and the disabled become too costly or too cumbersome for society’s taste, we will find ourselves facing increasingly challenging issues. The church will need to minister and embrace those with disabilities should the climate become difficult.
As with any mercy ministry, it is essential that disability ministry be “grace-based to the core.” If we do not use grace as a starting point, we will be prone to minister with condescension or pity, and out of duty—not out of identifying with others in our common need for grace. Only as we comprehend our own spiritually disabling condition can we possibly minister effectively to individuals with physical or intellectual disabilities from a posture that understands our own brokenness first, before it focuses on the challenges of others. A grace-based ministry will value the whole person and celebrate the unique contributions of all types of people with all types of abilities. In this context, an atmosphere of mutual edification, appreciation, encouragement and respect will be fostered. Working from a framework of grace, it is safe to have needs and safe to minister sincerely, albeit imperfectly.
Is someone in your family touched by disability?
Please let us know how we can serve you better! For further information about Disability Ministry at RPC, contact the church office.
If you are interested in learning more about disability ministry in the Presbyterian Church in America, please visit www.engagingdisability.org.