A local congregation had made great strides in its efforts to include people with disabilities in all parts of church life. A young woman with autism was recruited to be a helper in the church’s vacation Bible school, and things were going well, until a teenage volunteer complained to the VBS director that she made the volunteer feel “uncomfortable.” The director made the unfortunate decision to remove the young woman from the program.
“This could have been an opportunity to educate that teen about autism – and more importantly, about inclusion,” remarks Dr. Evelyn McMullen, executive director of Bright Threads Ministries. “There is so much more to be done in training leaders.”
Jesus made it clear that the Kingdom of God includes people who are blind, lame, and weak in body, mind, and spirit. (Luke 14:21-24) As Professor Carter puts it, churches that do not include people of all abilities are incomplete in God’s sight.
As Bright Threads Ministries marks its 5th anniversary, its mission continues to train church leaders how to include people of all abilities in the life of the church. We have seen orders for our training video series, “Casting Out Fear,” more than triple since the beginning of the year. For churches that want to be more inclusive but are not sure how, word is spreading that Bright Threads Ministries can help.