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 support group for people living with similar challenges. See this page.
- A group formed for long-term support of the needs of a specific individual or family. See our Circles of Care page.
Support groups for people living with similar challenges
Some groups focus on serving people in the congregation with a common disability, for example those living with depression. Other groups have a clear purpose of outreach to those in the wider community.
In an outreach group, whether you focus on faith openly in the group or choose to keep it in the background, you will have the opportunity to build relationships of caring that embody Christ’s love to those in the wider community.
The heart of a support group is ending the isolation, so plan deliberately to nurture connection. Asking people to introduce themselves at each meeting
is a simple way to build connection and help newcomers feel welcome. Keep your focus positive and on topics that will actually help people in coping with issues that impact their daily lives.
Resource links on this page offer additional insights into starting and managing support groups. ADN staff has experience leading several kinds of support groups, so contact us if you need help getting started.
Resources from others
Starting a Spiritual Support Group for Mental Health and Wellness In Your Faith Community. By Interfaith Network on Mental Illness.
Image credit: Circle of Love, a painting by Chad Friesen. Read more about Chad in Circles of Love: Stories of Congregations Caring for People with Disabilities and Their Families.