Churches

Our comprehensive suite of resources is built to help your church gain the knowledge, strategies, and faith-driven skills to build and maintain a disability-inclusive environment. No matter what stage your church is at—from seeking the latest materials for a long-standing program to learning more about disability in general—you’ll find countless resources to fit your needs.

Videos & PDFs

Learn Basic Church Signs in ASL

Learn basic church signs in American Sign Language. Learning these signs will help you engage with Deaf people in your community and help. ....

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Learning American Sign Language: Church vocabulary (Part 2)

Welcome back to our 3 part series on ASL church vocabulary. Learn basic church signs in American Sign Language. Learning these signs will help you engage with Deaf people in your community and help your church go from just accessibility to inclusiveness. ....

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Routine

Examine the need for routine that many individuals with disabilities have, and learn ways to provide instruction and care accordingly. Also included is an informational sheet to be filled out during or after the video. ....

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Teaching Kids about Disability: Stand in Front

When you're talking to a friend with a disability, remember to stand in front. Your friend won't be able to see you if you’re behind them! ....

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Intro to training

Preparing our minds and hearts to minister to people with disabilities and their families in the most effective way possible. ....

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Wrestling with God Curriculum

Troubling circumstances tend to do one of two things to people. Either it will draw people closer to God or drive them further away. When people face troubling circumstances it is only natural that they have more questions than answers in their lives. While working through these tough questions it can feel like people are wrestling with God. ....

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Learning American Sign Language: Church vocabulary (Part 3)

Welcome back to our 3 part series on ASL church vocabulary. Learn basic church signs in American Sign Language. Learning these signs will help you engage with Deaf people in your community and help your church go from just accessibility to inclusiveness. ....

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Accessibility

Help your church build relational ramps, making your community accessible to those with disability. ....

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Consistency Within the Church Structure

The importance of consistency in the church environment, staff and behavioral redirection. ....

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Become a Sensory-Friendly Church: Sound

Sound can enhance learning and create an inviting atmosphere, but the wrong sound can prevent people from attending your church or ministry events. Gain awareness and understanding for people with auditory processing issues and learn simple steps to create a welcoming environment for discipleship and ministry. Video 3 of 6 ....

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What is Special Needs Ministry?

Finding a church that is welcoming to people with disabilities can be very difficult. Joni & Friends hopes to equip churches around the world to disciple people affected by disabilities! ....

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7 Ideas to Help Memorize Scripture

Let’s prioritize making Scripture available and accessible to all, including those in your children’s ministry and disability ministry settings. ....

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Finding Sign Language Christian Interpreters For Your Church

Learn some simple steps and ways you can find local American Sign Language Christians interpreters for your churches. This simple guide can be a starting point to help you and your church search and recruit interpreters. ....

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Teaching Kids about Disability: Disability Awareness Training Stations

Fun activities for experiencing life with various disabilities. ....

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Accessibility and Inclusiveness in the church

Accessibility and inclusive are not extra work, being accessible and inclusive is biblical. ....

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The Five Stages of Culture Change

What does it look like to mature and grow in disability ministry with churches that have different styles, sizes and budgets? ....

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The Church is Not Complete Without People with Disabilities

People of all abilities need a church where they can fully belong. Joni and Friends works to equip and mobilize churches to welcome and embrace people of all abilities by removing barriers and creating a church culture that sees all people as indispensable parts of the body of Christ, created in God’s image, and worthy of dignity and respect. ....

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Teaching Kids about Disability: Autism

Discover what makes your friend affected by autism unique! ....

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Understanding Autism

A guide to understanding autism and answer to four questions about autism: What Is Autism? How Common Is Autism? How Does Autism Impact Participation at Church? What Can You Do? ....

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Top 10 VBS Tips

As you consider VBS this summer, take steps to better welcome, include, and enfold those experiencing disability. Here are 10 helpful tips: ....

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Teaching Kids about Disability: Cerebral Palsy

Start with "Hello!" Maddy, who has cerebral palsy, shares about a time when a girl named Rosie made her feel loved and included at school. Just a simple hello made all the difference for Maddy, so next time you see someone alone, go and say hi – who knows what will happen! ....

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Approaching Disability

Discussing the right mindset to have when ministering to people with disabilities as well as an informational sheet to be filled out during or after the training video. ....

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Teaching Kids about Disability: Invisible Disabilities

Sometimes disabilities are inside of our bodies, not on the outside. Learn how to be a good friend to someone who has diabetes, an invisible disability. ....

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Emotional-Behavioral Disorders

The strengths, needs, and other important information about Emotional-Behavior Disorders as well as an informational sheet to be filled out during or after the training video. ....

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Teaching Kids about Disability: Don't Make Fun

Learn from Proverbs 17:17 on how to be a true friend and not make fun of others! ....

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Become a Sensory-Friendly Church: Sight

The wrong lighting and visual clutter can prevent people with sensory processing issues from attending your church or ministry events. Discover how to use lighting and visual cues to create a welcoming environment and encourage learning for everyone. Training Video 2 of 6 ....

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Pathways to Belonging

Create inclusive ministry environments for all ages. ....

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Changing Church Culture

Without a fundamental culture of inclusivity, “disability ministry” can actually cause even more isolation and distance people with special needs. So, how does a church culture go from excluding people with disabilities to embracing them as equal members of the body of Christ? ....

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Removing Barriers

Clear steps to removing seen and unseen barriers within your church. ....

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Communication Part 2

Take a look at the best ways to meet an array of communication needs. Also included is an informational sheet to be filled out during or after the video. ....

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Types of Disabilities

Define different types of disabilities you may encounter. ....

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Nonverbal Communication

Tips to communicate with those who use alternative ways to communicate and prevent confusion and potential challenging behaviors in the process. ....

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Teaching Kids about Disability: Get Close!

When you say hi to someone in a wheelchair, walk right up to them like you would anyone else (it’s nice to get close). Remember, you can’t catch a disability! ....

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Hospitality

The church is a community where all are welcome and all are needed. ....

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Learn Basic Church ASL Signs

This is video number three in our series. As always, learning more basic sign language will allow you to engage with Deaf people in your community and church. ....

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Look Back, Look Up, and Look Forward

Deaf Millennial Project shares one best approach in starting a Deaf discipleship group. A simple tool that will engage and disciple Deaf people for Christ. ....

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Become a Sensory-Friendly Church: Touch

Touch, textures, and temperatures are very important sensory areas to consider in church and ministry events. Common things such as greetings, seating, clothing, meals, communion, and baptism can be extremely difficult for people with sensory processing issues. This training will help increase awareness and understanding in order to anticipate needs and create a welcoming environment. Video 4 o ....

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There's This Kid...Anxiety

What is anxiety and what does it look like in a Sunday School classroom? Use these tips and strategies to help students with anxiety feel comfortable enough in your classroom to absorb gospel truths. ....

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Teaching Kids about Disability: Offer to Help

A great way to be a friend is to ask if someone if they need help. How about offering to open the door or helping someone with their things! Also learn a great verse, Philippians 2:4 ....

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Discipleship in Disability

A breakdown of what is a disciple, differences in the Body of Christ and how disciples make disciples - all through the lens of disability. ....

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Autism

The strengths, needs, and other important information about autism as well as an informational sheet to be filled out during or after the training video. ....

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Finding Sign Language Christian Interpreters For Your Church

One of the most frequent questions is, "How do I find local Christian ASL interpreters?" Deaf Millennial Project is helping churches learn some simple ways to find local American Sign Language Christian interpreters. ....

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Communication Part 1

Take a look at the best ways to meet an array of communication needs. Also included is an informational sheet to be filled out during or after the video. ....

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Teaching Kids about Disability: Make Eye Contact

When you talk to someone who is blind, it’s easiest to look them right in eyes – just like you would anyone else! ....

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Teaching the Concept of Salvation

How you teach the concept of salvation may look very different depending on your audience. Here you will find a few ways of presenting this lesson that will appeal to various age groups. ....

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Teaching Kids about Disability: It's Okay to Ask Questions!

See someone with a disability? It's okay to ask questions! People with disabilities are usually happy to answer your questions. Learn some great tips when asking someone about their disability and learn a wonderful verse to go along with it, Matthew 7:12 ....

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Building a Disability Ministry that Lasts

Structuring your Disability Ministry and building a disability ministry that lasts. ....

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Adapting Curriculum & Teaching Methods

Sometimes, all that’s required for someone to access God’s Word is a teacher who’s willing to put in a little effort and a few simple adaptations. This video will give you eight simple tips that can help unlock the rich beauty and truth of Scripture for those with special needs in your church. ....

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Learning American Sign Language: Church vocabulary (Part 1)

Learn basic church signs in American Sign Language (ASL) Learning these signs will help you engage with Deaf people in your community and help your church go from just accessibility to inclusiveness. ....

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Down Syndrome, Intellectual Disability, & Cerebral Palsy

The strengths, needs, and other important information about Down Syndrome, Intellectual Disability, and Cerebral Palsy as well as an informational sheet to be filled out during or after the training video. ....

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Dealing with Challenging Behaviors

“Behavior modification” can sound intimidating and unattainable, but with a few key tips and perspectives we can face challenging behavior head-on with greater confidence, and ultimately, share the gospel more effectively! ....

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Teaching Kids about Disability: Smile Don't Stare

Meet Naomi, Joni and BoBo as they walk through how to be kind to someone living with a disability! You can be a blessing by simply giving a smile to someone with a disability. Rather than stare…Smile! ....

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Helping with Life Transitions

Engaging young adults with disabilities into the life of your church. ....

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A Beginner's Guide to Trauma-Informed Children's Ministry

This Beginner's Guide to Trauma-Informed Children's Ministry describes the widespread impact of childhood trauma, offers a research-based framework for constructing a trauma-informed children's ministry, and provides eight practical tips for helping children feel safe, in-control, loved, and valued in their church community. ....

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Gospel & Disability (Spanish Translation)

A short clip from our recently completed Spanish language training video series. Watch this brief clip from the "Gospel & Disability" episode. ....

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Engaging Church Leadership

How to talk to church leadership and get them excited about disability. ....

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Teaching Kids about Disability: Kids With Down Syndrome

Do you know someone who has Down syndrome? Include him or her in your circle of friends—they make great friends! ....

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5 Steps to Starting a Special Needs Ministry & Disability Ministry Models

This video provides five tangible steps any church can take towards providing meaningful support to people of all abilities. Also included is a document describing disability ministry models. What is a “ministry model?” A good ministry model enables people to encounter Christ. These suggested ministry models for disability ministry are built under the assumption that a unified church (disabled ....

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Jesus & Hospitality

Highlight the vital role that Jesus plays in disability ministry, and how a little hospitality can go a long way. Also included is an informational sheet to be filled out during or after the training video. ....

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Responding with Compassion

Navigating challenging behaviors in special needs ministry. ....

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Disability Etiquette

Disability etiquette helps you to focus on the person, not the disability. Begin by using “people-first language,” putting the emphasis on the individual, not on the disability. It’s a subtle difference but speaks volumes! ....

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Disability and the Gospel

All of humanity is beautiful and broken, in need of the good news of God’s saving grace. ....

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Become a Sensory-Friendly Church: Smell & Taste

We don’t often consider how our church smells and how that may affect people with sensory processing issues. It is important to consider all areas of the church, including kitchens, sanctuaries, fellowship halls, and bathrooms. Issues around sensory processing can cause problems with attending fellowships, meals and even gatherings such as worship. By becoming a sensory-friendly church, we ca ....

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Become a Sensory-Friendly Church: Movement & Body Awareness

Simple solutions for anyone with the wiggles. Discover how to provide easy alternative seating and movement opportunities for your church or ministry events to help people with the need to move. Also discover how weighted items and heavy pressure can reduce anxiety and help with calming. Video 5 of 6 ....

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Ten Tips for Pastors

Pastors have the privilege of modeling the heart of God for people who are impacted by disability in a variety of ways. ....

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Understanding “Deaf” Terminology

This resource covers some important jargon that focuses on Deaf communities and the appropriate terminology used when discussing the topic of Deaf people. ....

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Teaching Kids about Disability: Service Dog

If you see a service dog (wearing a working vest), don’t pet her unless you ask. ....

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Family

Ways your church can come alongside families and caregivers to help bear each other’s burdens, as well as an informational sheet to be filled out during or after the training video. ....

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5 Tips for Hosting a Sensory-Friendly Worship Service

We are all designed to worship our Creator — through prayer and service and praise — both as individuals and as the church family. But sometimes corporate worship services can be challenging for those with sensory-processing differences. ....

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Teaching Kids about Disability: Learn Some Sign Language

Learn some sign language…that way you can say ‘hi’ to someone who is hearing impaired or deaf. ....

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Tips for Adapting Curriculum

Tips for Adapting Curriculum for Students with Special Needs ....

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Engaging Game Changers

Recruiting and training volunteers for disability ministry. ....

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Become a Sensory-Friendly Church: Introduction

Gain understanding, awareness, and empathy for the 16.5% of the population with sensory processing issues. Learn the simple steps to make your whole church and ministry events sensory-friendly. This introductory video explains the basics of sensory processing and what causes under- and over-responsiveness, hypersensitivity, overload, meltdowns, and shutdowns and even more importantly, how to cre ....

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Thanksgiving / Fall themed American Sign Language vocabulary

Learn over 25 fall themed ASL words and phrases for thanksgiving. ....

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25 Church Signs in ASL

Learn 25 basic American Sign Language signs related to church. Learning signs will help you engage with Deaf members of your church and Change your church culture from not only being accessible, but inclusive! ....

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There's This Kid...ADHD

Have you ever found yourself thinking "There's this kid..." in your ministry? Share this resource on ADHD, a common hidden disability, with your children's ministry volunteers and church staff. ....

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Become a Church that Welcomes and Embraces People with Disabilities

Let Joni & Friends help you identify and remove barriers that impact people with disabilities. Develop a church culture that sees all people as indispensable parts of the Body of Christ, created in God’s image, and worthy of dignity and respect. ....

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Additional Resources

The Gospel In 3 Words

Have you ever heard the “Gospel” and wondered, what is it all about? Simply put, the Gospel is the good news about Jesus. It is a simple yet powerful message. It is a message that has the power to change our lives. A message that can save us from the mess that we often find ourselves in. A message that can give our lives purpose. That is why we have created this series titled, The Gospel In 3 ....

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An Introduction to Special Needs Children's Ministry

This exciting new introduction course will cover important topics including: -A biblical view on disability. -Inclusion Models and Accessibility. -Curriculum Adaptation. -Building Relationships with Families. -Discipleship and the Gospel. -Serving Alongside Friends with Disabilities.....

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Volunteer 101 Training

FREE disability ministry volunteer training resource complete with a leader's guide, videos, supplemental resources, notes, fill-ins, and a quiz. Everything you need for a 101 level volunteer training! ....

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Engaging Volunteers at Your Church

Everyone who comes through the church doors should feel welcomed and included. But when a new family at your church includes children or adults with disabilities, how do you gather and train volunteers to meet their unique needs?....

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Autism and the Church, An Introduction

The number of children with ASD is continuing to grow. The disability impacts not only the child, but the family as well. Many families look to community organizations, such as churches, as a support system. It is important for churches to be prepared to support the entire family. The church can create a safe and supportive environment that welcomes the family in, while providing the needed suppor....

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Why Every Church Needs People with Disabilities

Fundamentally, it’s not just people with disabilities who need the church. It’s the church that needs people with disabilities. Without them, the church is incomplete. Remember, “We are all needy, and we are all needed.” ....

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A Practical Guide to Special Needs Children's Ministry

This is the second in a three part certificate track in Special Needs Children's Ministry. Part 2 will give you hands-on, practical guidance and tools for use in your ministry including: -Planning and Getting Started, -Training/Awareness. -Models of Ministry. -Ministering Beyond Sunday Morning.....

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Six Steps to Offering Specific and Practical Help to a Family Living with Disability

How do we best serve families affected by disability beyond Sundays? ....

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Let Your Light Shine

Our Shine On contrubutor Ability Ministry created this devotional resource for our Tim Tebow Foundation's Night to Shine Kings and Queens to use leading up to the 2023 prom. Files include: Printable leader's guide, PDF printable devotion, promo video, intro video, memory verse sign language video, 6 daily devotional videos, social media graphic package, printable word search, printable coloring ....

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Welcoming People with Disabilities in the Church

In this course you will learn to identify and remove barriers that impact people with disabilities and get hands-on practice to be able to: -START a Special Needs Ministry. -RECRUIT Passionate Volunteers. -ENGAGE Church Leadership. -ADAPT Curriculum and Teaching Methods. -MANAGE Challenging Behavior. -MODEL Inclusive Ministry.....

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