I realize that I am a tad bit late to the party on this one, but just recently I came across “The Employables” on A&E. After watching the first episode, I was instantly hooked and found myself binge-watching the entire first season. For those that have never heard about this show before now, the premise is documenting the process of those with special needs as they look to find a job.
Each episode follows two individuals, one who has been diagnosed with Tourette syndrome and another individual who is on the Autism spectrum. In many cases, these individuals have been out of work for years and are beyond frustrated as they want to work, contribute to society, help their family financially, or become more independent.
At one point in every episode, a specialist was brought in to help find talents and interests that might not have been so obvious before and how those interests and skills would be valuable to an employer. When the specialist asked, “So has anyone ever sat down to talk to you about the benefits of having Tourette syndrome before?” I was caught off guard, though not more than the person on the show who was being asked that. I couldn’t help but feel that up until that point in their life, their disability had been viewed as a limiting factor. It was not an advantage, but a roadblock to what they had been able to accomplish in their careers.
In addition to those “roadblocks”, these job seekers were routinely placed in roles that did not match up at all with their interests or skillsets. If you take a person who cannot sing, and force them into a job that requires singing, wouldn’t a reasonable conclusion be that they would not succeed? Yet, this was done time and time again for those with disabilities. What the specialist did was highlight the interests and abilities. That was matched up with the right employer and the right position, which is a far greater recipe for success.
Is the church making the same mistakes?
Regardless of the size of your church, there are probably so many volunteer opportunities that it is tough to list them all. Which is a blessing as it means that there are more opportunities for others to get involved and get plugged in.
Rather than take someone affected by disability and just dropping them in where you think they could fit, why not sit down and find out more about what they are interested in, what they love to do, and where God has gifted them? Then take those answers and match it up with serving opportunities at your church.
If that seems like a daunting task and you don’t know where to start, then don’t worry, because we have that covered! We have created a “one page doc” gifts inventory and service opportunity assessment your church can download for free and use. This resource will help guide you through identifying skillsets and interests and how those will fit the opportunities within your church to serve.
Jason joins the Ability Ministry team and brings over 20 years of graphic design and marketing experience to the table. He has handled projects from local start-up businesses to publicly owned internationally based companies, including a Shark Tank company. Jason currently reside in Louisville with his wife, two daughters, and dog Pepper. In his spare time, he is a Master’s competitor in USA Weightlifting. His family attends Southeast Christian Church.