Disability Ministry Volunteer Training Exercise

Disability Ministry Volunteer Training Exercise

If you are looking for a quick volunteer training idea for your Disability Ministry look no further than this deeply impactful experience.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is a powerful short film (10 minutes in length) on Netflix created by filmmaker Ashley Eakin.

The short starts with a quote from German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children” and goes on to portray one of the darkest periods in human history. Warning! If you have young volunteers in your ministry this may not be appropriate for them.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses depicts what Hitler implemented in 1939, a program titled Aktion T4, which led to the murder of 300,000 disabled people while sterilizing an additional 400,000. The victims of this genocide mostly were children.

We cannot afford to forget or be ignorant of the horrors of our past.

Here are three great ways to utilize this short film as the catalyst for a Disability Ministry volunteer training.

  1. Live in-person volunteer training
    1. At your next scheduled meeting play this film for your volunteers.
    2. Follow up the film with group discussion. First, discuss how this film made people feel. You don’t want to blow past it as it will stir deep emotions within people. Second, use the film as a catalyst for discussion about the current treatment of people with disabilities in both the world and your community. Give real examples.
    3. Make it personal. Steer the conversation to discuss how your ministry can improve or advocate for people living with disabilities in your congregation and community. Write down real ideas that if enacted would make the lives of others better.
    4. Take action! It is one thing to discuss things in theory but it is a whole nother thing to do something about injustices. God wants us to be difference makers. Love is a verb. Love is an action word. When you fight for justice you truly are loving your community.
  2. Online live volunteer training
    1. See above. Follow the same steps but meet over Facebook Live or Zoom after watching the film individually or as a group.
  3. Independent volunteer training experience
    1. See above.
    2. Create a homework assignment.
    3. Refer people to the film.
    4. Send a list of questions for people to answer independently and to turn in to you.
    5. Compile and share the answers with your group.
    6. Pick an action point to follow up on as a group.

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