Over 35 million Americans are physically or mentally disabled. Difficulties associated with disability often cause individuals and their families stress and trauma and sometimes raise questions about God, His power and His goodness.
Families with members who suffer from disabilities also experience other pressures that, when succumbed to, can result in a higher incidence of poverty, unemployment, family disintegration, substance abuse and suicide.
Adding to the problem is the mobility of American families as they move and lose the support groups that are needed in times of personal distress.
The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) desires to take positive steps of action to compassionately respond to people in such situations. We acknowledge that Jesus’ ministry on earth singled out the weak, the poor and the disabled for special concern. Because of the model Jesus provided and the need that exists, we call upon our member churches and Christians everywhere to:
1. Reach out to disabled people and welcome them into the life of the church.
2. Establish among members of the church a Christian ethic that gives respect, acceptance and assistance to all disabled persons.
3. Remove physical and communication barriers that hinder access of disabled people to the worship services and to the recreational and social activities of the church.
4. Extend transportation services, as needed, to those of limited mobility so that they might participate in church activities.
5. Celebrate the spiritual gifts of disabled people by allowing them to serve and be served, and by incorporating their gifts into the life and worship of the body.
6. Provide the leadership necessary to minister effectively to disabled persons by offering curriculum, instituting programs and providing special training for workers.