This is especially sad in a generation where Millenials find it cooler for churches to be "missional." In other words, this generation is finding itself in leadership positions, and is fond of sending church members out to serve in the community at soup kitchens, at neighborhood rehab projects. and organizations to end human trafficking.
Hear me when I say that these are GOOD, GOOD THINGS.
However, I have two challenges with this outwardly missional hyperfocus:
- Unless we are sharing the gospel with those we are serving in the community, we are just like any other secular person who is trying to work their way to heaven. Instead of authentic relationship, we're suddenly just treating someone like our project.
- We make ourselves look like complete hypocrites when we do missional outreach while neglecting those who are struggling within our own Church Body. If we haven't even made room for the disabled to attend or serve, or for those with special needs to receive spiritual formation, we again look like we're just treating people like a temporary project, trying to beef up our numbers, a Christian Club for all the beautiful people.
- David Kinnaman & Gabe Lyons, "When outward engagement is our sole aim, we become moralistic crusaders or proponents of a purely social gospel that has no power to save people from sin. On the other hand, if we focuse solely on what happens inside the church, we become pious separatists who are so heavenly minded we are no earthly good for God's plan to renew the world through Christ in his people. We believe good faith churches are called to hold thew two in tandem, to live in the necessary, perpetual tension between knitting together a community of disciples and going out to bless the world." Good Faith: Being a Christian When Society Thinks You're Irrelevant and Extreme, pp 237-238, Baker Books (March 1, 2016)
- Ed Stetzer, "Special Needs Ministries and the Church: Research, Ministries, Links, Leaders, and More," Christianity Today
- Chris Hulshof, "Three Ways The Church Can Better Serve Special Needs Families," Christianity Today
- David Briggs, "Churches seen as failing to welcome people with disabilities," The Christian Century
- Tim Challies & Sean Harrelson, "The Disabilities Dilemma," CHALLIES.COM