Disability Ministry Event that promotes fun, awareness, inclusion, and volunteer recruitment (even volunteer recruitment of men at your church)!
Many years ago, when my wife and I lived in Cincinnati, OH we loved attending all the different suburbs “Taste of” events. For example, a “Taste of Blue Ash” was in a suburb just north of Cincinnati. Blue Ash had a high population of Jewish families and individuals. Because of that, they had several different Jewish delis and other ethnic foods you could not get in other areas of Cincinnati. It was a fabulous way to sample foods from many different restaurants in a concentrated area. We found some of our most favorite restaurants that we would then frequent by attending these events. Without these once-a-year events, we would not have had an opportunity to be introduced to some hidden gems in our community.
What does this have to do with Disability Ministry?
You will be organizing a one-time event that will be a non-threatening environment easy to recruit volunteers from other ministries that may not already be involved in your disability ministry. Specifically, you will be targeting the Men’s Ministry and the Women’s Ministry of your church to help you pull off this event.
I want you to think of your church community as a suburb that is preparing for a “Taste of __________” event. For example, I will use my church, First Christian Church in Canton, OH. Let us call the event, “A Taste of First Christian Church.” Of course, your event would be called “A Taste of _________ (you fill in the blank with your church name).”
This is a great event to prepare because it should cost your ministry very little. Approach, your Men’s Ministry and your Women’s Ministry and ask individuals to come to the event with their best homemade chili, smoked meats, baked goods, etc. You can decide based upon the makeup of your church what food items would work best.
Everyone is proud of a favorite family recipe and would love an opportunity to share it with others and possibly win some cool prizes!
Again, for example:
At “A Taste of First Christian Church” the Men’s Ministry will be competing to find out who has the best Homemade Chili in a star-studded cookoff! At the same time, the Women’s Ministry will be competing to find out who has the best Baked Goods in a fierce competition guaranteed to satisfy both your salty and sweet tooth! Come on Wednesday night April 28th at 7 pm in Heritage Hall. Make sure to come hungry. This is a FREE event.
You are probably wondering what does this have to do with the awareness and inclusion of your disability ministry?
Everyone else in attendance, the judges, and those that will be taste testing all the chili and the baked goods will be members of your Disability Ministry and those that you invite from your disability community. The guys in the Disability Ministry and community will judge the baked goods and determine the winners. The gals in the Disability Ministry and community will judge the chili cookoff and the winners.
At the Event
- Pipe in some fun upbeat music.
- Make sure to have lots of disposable sample-sized cups, plates, spoons, forks, napkins, etc.
- Encourage the men and women who prepared their food to stand by their table and hand out samples.
- Encourage interaction. Before the event consider a brief training or sharing a document on disability etiquette and people-first language. Prepare the volunteers for some very honest feedback, good and bad!
- Have people vote for their favorite chili and baked goods. Come up with multiple categories so you can have multiple winners.
- Give away fun prizes to the winners. Make sure to announce them before the event is over.
- Have a flyer ready to hand out at the end of the event allowing all those in attendance to know about upcoming Disability Ministry opportunities, events, and gatherings.
- Have a separate flyer ready to hand out to all the men and women from your Men’s Ministry and Women’s Ministry informing them of all the available volunteer opportunities. Capitalize on the fun of the moment to try to nab some new recruits that will no doubt see your ministry in a new light.
This event is not intended for the general population of your church. It is specifically intended for your Disability Ministry and community. It was intended to be a blessing for them and an opportunity for them to minister to those in your Women’s Ministry, Men’s Ministry, and others on your staff. Make sure to invite the men and women of your staff to participate alongside the Men’s Ministry and Women’s Ministry. Integrating staff is integral to the success of your Disability Ministry.
This type of event will bring people together from different silos of your church and community that probably would never otherwise have a chance to interact with each other. Because it will be done over food and taste testing the interactions will be very non-threatening and much easier than having to manufacture conversations out of thin air. Not to mention the place will be hopping with fun music which always puts people at ease.
- People will no doubt of loads of fun together.
- The community will be built.
- People will find out that they are much more alike than different.
- People will have an opportunity to meet people they would not otherwise have an opportunity to meet.
- New friendships will be formed.
- Misconceptions, fears, and walls will be broken down.
- Finding new recruits for your ministry becomes much easier because of all the things mentioned above.
Just like my wife and I were introduced to some hidden gems in our community at a “Taste of Blue Ash” so too people from your church, Disability Ministry, and community will also be introduced to some hidden gems. Those hidden gems may be a kicking chili recipe that was handed down from generation to generation or it just may be to a person that will become a lifelong friend.
This type of event is a win for everyone! Start planning today.
Hit us up for a FREE consultation today.
It is Ryan’s passion to equip and empower churches, organizations, and individuals to reach their disability communities for Jesus. Ryan comes to Ability Ministry with 15+ years of ministry experience. He previously worked at First Christian Church in Canton, Ohio as their full-time Disability Pastor. He also worked as a Church Consultant for Key Ministry. Micah 6:8 and Proverbs 31:8 best describe Ryan’s commitment to life and ministry.