A true story and an example to emulate. . . .
Kristina (my niece) is a young woman with a complicated life.
She was born with a rare genetic disorder that resulted in orthopedic issues across her entire body alongside limited intellectual capacities. She has undergone dozens of surgeries, has endured countless medical tests and hospitalizations, and will always need someone to look out for her. She is very vulnerable and her behaviors can be challenging.
She attends a church of about 200 people.
What if you were her pastor? You barely have the resources, both financial and human, to serve the needs of the ‘normal’ folks in your congregation. How do you love her and prepare her for service to the body of Christ?
Her pastor, a young man who planted the church she attends in rural South Dakota, gets it:
- He trusts God above all things and goes to him for what he needs
- He opens the word of God to lead his people.
- He accepts the gifts of his people, no matter how they come.
- He loves this young woman as one of his flock. Her mother shared that Kristina says this about her pastor: “I like Pastor Chris. He doesn’t walk away from me.”
- Recently, he publicly recognized Kristina’s 26th birthday, proclaiming from the pulpit what a gift she is to the church. And then everyone sang Happy Birthday.
Here's the thing to take away from this: although this church doesn't have a formal disability ministry, they are led by a pastor who understands something profound about the sovereignty of God over all things, including people with disabilities.
I praise God for this local expression of the body of Christ in how they value the weaker member among them.
Whether the church you attend is big, or small like this, may we all live to make known the power and grace of God!