Two Kinds of Support Groups
Offering healing and hope to people with disabilities is an essential mark of God’s reign and a sign that Jesus, our Messiah, is present and active (Matt 11:4-5). Congregations may form two distinctly different kinds of support groups to reach out with caring to those affected by disablities.
- A group formed to support the needs of a specific individual or family. See this page.
- A support group for people living with similar challenges. See our Support Groups page.
Support for a Specific Individual or Family
A personalized network of support can provide families facing disabilities with information, presence, practical assistance, and encouragement.
Local church congregations that become involved in extending practical assistance and encouragement can make an enormous difference in a family's well being and sense of God's love through difficult times.
Practical assistance and ongoing encouragement can make an enormous difference in a family's sense of God's love through difficult times.
When the needs are acute and short-term, congregations often rise to the occasion with an abundance of practical support, such as providing meals, companionship, transportation, respite care, child care, etc.
A greater challenge for congregations arises when conditions are chronic and long-term, and needs are ongoing. Such situations benefit from deliberate attention given to assuring basic needs are cared for, as well as offering ongoing encouragement. This may be easier when one or more persons are assigned the role of staying in touch with the practical needs and helping others in the support network to be aware of them.
A network of support may be created and personalized for a specific individual or family, to give courage for the next steps on the journey. Examples:
- Informal conversation with close friends can be effective when relationships and commitments are strong.
- Small cell groups or koinonia groups formed to support each other as disciples of Christ can double as a support network for members living with disability.
- A team of friends may take turns offering one-on-one encouragement on a rotating schedule, coordinated by one member of the team.
- Circle of Care (Supportive Care group) is a comprehensive support network individualized for families facing life-long disabilities of a family member. ADN's book, Supportive Care in the Congregation outlines the vision and provides guidance for establishing such a group. Our latest book, Circles of Love, tells stories from congregations that have implemented this vision and been blessed in the process. Contact us if you would like help starting a conversation in your congregation.
- Electronic communications, such as email, Facebook, or CarePages, may be helpful ways of connecting with a network of encouragement.