Churches have a bad reputation for being other than what they are supposed to be. Why? There needs to be much discussion and serious thought on this topic because surely complaining never leads to solutions. Christians or believers are called to avoid gossip and slanderous conversation, but instead, come two witnesses at a time to confirm an offense (Deut. 19:15). Further, there are varying degrees of understanding within the body of Christ, and this could be the problem. Therefore, one reason churches neglect disabled communities is that:
1. Churches are not equipped spiritually to reach disabled communities.
The disciples of Jesus in Mark 9 also had instances where they were not able to heal people. Jesus told them some healing could only come out by prayer (v.29). When we think of the many attacks against the church, there must be the acknowledgment by church leaders that without the Holy Spirit’s power, the church cannot meet the needs of the lost, especially the disabled community. Church leaders, laity, and staff members must be aware that spiritual warfare is a daily occurrence. There must be a priority set to make prayer and worship precedence before missions. Let us not forget that the church was founded by believers who obeyed the Holy Spirit’s lead and prayed in one accord; then, they received the power to meet the needs of the lost.
Another reason churches neglect the needs of disabled communities is that serving the marginalized must be prioritized.
2. Churches fail to make serving the disabled community a priority.
Hence, it does not appear that the church is in nothing less than survival mode. Therefore, a resurgence of effectual prayer of the righteous, ever-increasing faith, and a commitment to act must be seen and felt among the disabled community and the church. People need to show compassion, selflessness and focus on things above and less conformity to earthly regimes.
The more the church is involved in worldly matters (politics, entertainment, partakers of sinful acts, further destroying marriages, families, and communities), the further away it moves from its purpose. In all honesty, the eyes cannot unsee what it has seen; the more significant the church building and amenities, the greater the sin of church leaders and its congregants. Just look around. What do church leaders have to say about this? Sadly, many deny openly but privately think, and think some more about the loss of congregants, and fail to attribute the neglect of their congregants to lack of preparation and commitment.
Thirdly, what is glaring is that there are not enough workers in the church to handle the growing deaf and disabled community. Hence, the need for adequate staffing must become a priority.
3. Churches neglect disabled communities because of inadequate staffing.
Frankly, most of the laity and caregivers are older people. Many are tired, and overwhelmed, and lack patience due to age and lack of compensation. This problem is telling on church leadership because growing the church should be a priority, add to staffing, the education of the staff. This is whole other teaching because, as believers join the fold and are eager to lend their hand, they must also be educated, as in taught the ways of God, and held accountable to those teachings. Recruiting workers for the kingdom of God also requires skilled leadership. What makes church staffing inadequate is a lack of transparency and accountability.
By being transparent, church leaders will make the people who labor alongside them feel comfortable and inspired to serve without reservation. An example of transparency is sharing personal stories or having individual ministries segments where new congregants and old ones can better get to know their leaders and fellow Christians. Transparency can be that bridge maker that connects the kingdom of God and the lost souls waiting to be rescued from the tempters snare and redeemed.
So, to recap, the church has missed the mark and chose to neglect the marginalized, the deaf, and the disabled. Perhaps not intentionally, but by seeking its way has overturned God’s law of love for the least among us. Three ways the church can turn towards the disabled community and cease the neglect is by making spiritual growth a priority, making serving the disabled community a focus, and by training, educating, and recruiting for adequate staffing positions (in the church, seek those who are called and skilled at serving the deaf, and disabled). Overall, transparency and accountability will lead to improving congregational accessibility and inclusion and help to “manage the outside noise