Support Groups


Support Groups

Starting and sustaining a group for mutual support

Four abstract figures human figures form a circle as if dancing

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.

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, discussed on 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 ADN:

Starting a Disability-Related Support Group

Support Group Tips

Resources from others:

Starting a Spiritual Support Group for Mental Health and Wellness In Your Faith Community. By Interfaith Network on Mental Illness.

 Learn more

    • Options for providing a congregational network of care for persons with significant disabilities and their families.
    • Frequent concerns for families when a member has a disability: caregiving, siblings, transition to adulthood, respite, life planning, long-term support, Anabaptist disability providers, and more.
    • Starting and sustaining a group for mutual support of people dealing with similar challenges.

 Related topics

 Opening Doors