Many believers, and therefore congregations, have fears that keep them from ministering with people with intellectual disabilities. “Do we have the know how?” “Where will we get the volunteers?” “We don’t have anyone with a disability in our church – where will we find them?”
Yet, Jesus told His disciples, “With God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)
The mission of Connection Ministries is to equip your church, but this mission continues long after your ministry begins. We continue to walk with you as the Friendship group strengthens and grows.
Connection Ministries can help your congregation raise awareness for the Friendship group ministry in your church and local community. Our staff is available to speak during your worship services, or for small groups. We can provide social media, atrium monitor, and brochure content. Connection Ministries also promotes groups in our network through our website and social media.
In central Indiana, Connection Ministries provides onsite training and consultation. Outside the area we can offer telephone or online consultation and training.
The training includes an orientation to help potential volunteers discern their role as part of a ministry with adults with intellectual disabilities. Soon after, we equip volunteers through an initial training program over three evenings.
As the Friendship group starts, someone from our team will spend several months as part of your weekly ministry. We offer guidance and assistance, and at any time, we will come back to assist.
When new volunteers join the Friendship group, they can receive their initial training through our video training series, “Indispensable.” We also provide in-person and online workshops, along with specialized training for your group.
In relation with our vision which is based on Acts 2:42-47, there are five essential elements included in the fabric of all our ministries with adults with intellectual disabilities. These elements are:
The ministries in each church will look different based on their doctrine, practices, and leadership. Every congregation will determine how these ministry elements will be practiced based on the goals of their Friendship group.
We advance the vision of Connection Ministries through local congregational Friendship groups. Friendship groups are ministries of the local congregation where Christian community is formed. We strive for one-on-one ratios of friends with intellectual disabilities and members of the church.
Most Friendship groups in our Network meet weekly in the evening, from September through May. It is in these groups where we live out the five ministry elements of study of God’s Word, worship, prayer, fellowship, and ministry together.
During the summer, we invite every group to host a Summer Friendship Gathering. This is a three-evening event that includes fellowship meals and Bible lessons, along with small group discussions and activities. The three night event ends with a closing worship service.
Each summer Connection Ministries develops the theme for the Gathering along with a detailed curriculum. T-shirts for event participants are also provided.
It is our vision that the relationships formed in the Friendship groups and during the Summer Gatherings will be the catalyst to connect us all to the Church. These friendships will also help engage our friends with disabilities into the life of their churches.