Often in churches, the Sunday before a mission trip departs those who are going on the trip gather on stage to be prayed for by the Pastor and the congregation at large. If you have seen this take place in a church ask yourself this, have you ever seen a group of people with disabilities gathered on stage preparing to go on mission? My guess is no. No more than five years ago I had never heard of a church taking a mission planned by and for people with disabilities. Mission trips have been for ages predominantly for the able-bodied and neurotypical population.
A friend of mine named Nick Doll sought to change this as he listened to the Holy Spirit speak into his heart one Sunday morning. God spoke to Nick and challenged him to plan a mission trip for his friends with disabilities.
A lot of planning went into this trip and Nick lead the charge as he followed the calling God placed upon his heart. This was not going to be a mission trip that was planned “for” people with disabilities. This was truly a trip planned “by” people with disabilities as Nick embodied the slogan “nothing about us without us.”
Five years ago on August 25th, 2016 five guys from First Christian Churches Disability Ministry headed out on their first-ever mission trip. There have been mission trips since lead by the Disability Ministry at First Christian but there will only ever be on first.
Nick Doll joined me on stage during a sermon after our trip highlighting our experience. Hear directly from Nick about this amazing experience by clicking below.
To see all the highlights from our first mission trip click here.
As you read, listen, and watch how one man with autism changed the narrative about who God calls to “go on mission” it is my prayer that you are challenged. It is my prayer that you will listen to the Holy Spirit speaking into your heart about the possibility of planning a mission trip with your disability ministry. Do not allow yourself to listen to the enemy whispering in your ear about all the reasons why it would never work for your group.
If you are interested in discussing how to plan a mission trip for your disability ministry, we would love to talk to you.
If you are wondering where in the world you would take your disability ministry on mission, we have an answer for you! Our Riverwood Campus in Louisville, TN hosts up to 18 different short-term mission trips every single year. We welcome you to bring your group to our home base. We just finished a brand new retreat center where your group can stay. As we host you your group will have opportunities to work, worship, play and build relationships with our residents at Riverwood.
Remember mission trips are not just for the able-bodied and neurotypical!
God calls all people to go on mission. That includes your group and we can help!
To learn more about our residential ministry click here. We hope to hear from you and see you in Tennessee soon!
If you would like to watch the entire sermon, click here.
Nick also shares about this mission experience in our book “My Friends, My Teachers.”
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.