How to Make Your Church Irresistible for Kids With Disabilities

The Irresistible Church series came about as Joni and Friends leadership realized an overwhelming need for this level of material.
The Irresistible Church series came about as Joni and Friends leadership realized an overwhelming need for this level of material. (Courtesy/Joni and Friends)

To kick off its new "Irresistible Church" book series, Joni and Friends International Disability Center released the first offering, Start with Hello, on the free Kindle list earlier this month, seeing it skyrocket to No. 1 in two different categories, as the book met a need so many churches have—how to become welcoming to all people, and especially those with special needs.

All of the books in the series will be short—50 pages or so—and practical guides to effective special needs ministry, from the very first steps of gauging the need and cataloging available resources. These guidelines are designed to work in any church, no matter the size, budget, or leadership style.  

The books are written by both experts in disability ministry and church outreach, with experience in starting such ministries from the ground up. A theological and biblical perspective of disability and suffering will also be explored throughout the series, showing the basis for and the call to engage in such ministry work. 

"Becoming irresistible is more than programs and activities—it is about a transformational work in our hearts ... first as individuals and then as the body of Christ," author Kate Brueck writes. "Irresistible allows us to see each individual as he or she truly is: created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27), designed purposely as a masterpiece (Psalm 139:13-14), instilled with purpose, plans and dreams (Jeremiah 29:11), and a truly indispensable member of the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 12:22)." 

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Future titles in the series include: Engaging Game Changers: Recruiting and Coaching Volunteers for Disability Ministry, and We've Got This! Providing Respite for Families Affected by Disability. In addition to the series' availability on Kindle, it will also be available on 350 other books sites including Barnes and Noble. Formats include mobi (Kindle), epub and PDF. 

The Irresistible Church series came about as Joni and Friends leadership realized an overwhelming need for this level of material. "One of the main questions we get is from individuals burdened for their churches to start disability ministries," said Marc Stein, Vice President of Field Services. "It's always 'Where do I start?'" 

"We realized we needed an entry-level guide for laymen, with baby steps laid out in order, and different approaches for different sizes and types of churches," Stein continued. "We are so excited about how well 'The Irresistible Church' is going to fill this need and truly help churches around the country reach out and make a difference in the lives of individuals with disabilities in their communities!" 

For more than 35 years, Joni and Friends has worked to accelerate ministry to the disability community around the world, offering a wide array of life-affirming ministries, including the Christian Institute on Disability; the International Disability Center; international radio and television programs filled with inspirational stories; and Family Retreats, where families affected by disability learn they are not alone. For more information, please visit http://www.joniandfriends.org/.

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