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New Year, New Vision

New Year’s resolutions Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution? Most of us have. The idea of being able to start fresh and to chart the course with a new beginning is always refreshing. The question is how often are New Year’s resolutions successful? Statistics, however, show that seven days into the New Year […]

New Year’s resolutions

Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution? Most of us have. The idea of being able to start fresh and to chart the course with a new beginning is always refreshing.

The question is how often are New Year’s resolutions successful? Statistics, however, show that seven days into the New Year 28% of people have already given up on their resolution. Only 8% of people that make resolutions keep them for a full calendar year.

Sorry, not very encouraging for those of you who have made 2020 New Year’s resolutions. Now let’s look at why so many fail to keep their resolutions. There are many different reasons. Here are a few:

  • Your goals are not clear
  • You feel overwhelmed
  • You feel discouraged
  • You’re not ready to change

If you have made resolutions for this year make sure your goals are clear and attainable. Don’t give up if you fail one time. Make sure you have someone who can encourage you along the way. It is never good to go at it alone.

At Ability Ministry in 2020, we are making some changes too. These aren’t New Year’s resolutions that our ministry will struggle to keep seven days from the start of the New Year. These are big and exciting organizational changes. These are changes that will help to set the course for the future of our great ministry and our Kingdom impact.


So, what is changing?

First, Ability Ministry will have new leadership.

Ability Ministry was chartered in the state of Kentucky in 1983. You can probably count on one hand the number of ministries in the world that have a longer history than Ability Ministry when it comes to reaching the disability community for Christ. Ability Ministry is proud to say we have been an active player in the field of disability ministry for 36 years. Ability Ministry is proud to be a pioneer in this emerging ministry movement. In 36 years, Ability Ministry has only had two leaders. Dr. Jim Pierson and Gary Spangler. Ability Ministry has been and will continue to be a stable organization that is a leader in the disability ministry movement.

Starting January 1st, 2020 Ability Ministry will officially be under the leadership of Ryan Wolfe. Ryan Wolfe will become the third leader of this storied organization as he serves as the President and Executive Director.

Ryan came to Ability Ministry in 2017 from First Christian Church in Canton, OH where he ministered for 15 years and served as their full-time disability ministry pastor. He has the experience and the passion needed to move Ability Ministry into its next chapter. For the past three years, Ryan has helped Ability Ministry to once again emerge as a leader in the disability ministry movement.

Second, Ability Ministry will be driven by a new vision.

Proverbs 29:18 tells us, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” These are strong words! Vision is vitally important in our lives, in churches, and in organizations. Without a strong and clear vision, people quickly lose purpose and passion and ultimately are led astray.

What is vision? Andy Stanley defines it this way. “Vision is a mental picture of what could be, and fueled by a passion that it should be.”

The new vision driving Ability Ministry is:

Embracing the indispensABLE, becoming complete.

Let’s unpack this vision statement briefly.

The word “embrace” is vital because it captures the example that Jesus set for the church leadership of his day. In Luke Chapter 14 we see Jesus gathering with some of the most influential church leaders of his day on one of the final sabbaths before he went to the cross. He could have talked with them about any of several important things and given them parting encouragement. Instead, he decides to do something that most people have glossed over for the past two thousand years. He commands the church to reach out and include the poor and people affected by disability. He does this three times in the span of one chapter! If Jesus repeats himself it is safe to say he wants us to pay attention.

Before he verbally commands the church to reach the disability community, he sets the example without using words. It is beautiful that he does this without saying a word. Luke 14:4, “But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man he healed him and sent him on his way.” Jesus “embraced” the man with a disability without fear. His motivation was driven by love and determination. Love for the man with the disability. Determination to set the church on the proper course.

The church leaders were silent. They didn’t want to take a stand for the disabled. For too long the church has been silent. We at Ability Ministry will not be silent! We will boldly proclaim that we will be obedient to the commands of Jesus in Luke 14 to reach the disability community for Christ.

The word indispensABLE comes from 1 Corinthians 12:22. “On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.”

What is the Apostle Paul trying to teach us about the Church?

This again is a message that the Church has largely missed over the past two thousand years. The body that Paul is speaking about is the Church. The parts of the body that “seem to be weaker” are represented by people that are often overlooked. No people group could possibly fit the description of perceived weakness better than people affected by disability. Paul is literally saying that the most important parts of the Church, the body of Christ, are people that are affected by disability.

Indispensable literally means something that you cannot do without or something that is absolutely necessary.

Paul is teaching us that without people with disabilities playing an active and vital role in the Church, the church is incomplete. The word picture that he gives is that the Church is missing body parts. The picture of the Church being disabled without people with disabilities.

Combine the commands of Jesus to reach and embrace the disability community with the picture of a complete church that Paul paints and you have our new vision statement.

Embracing the indispensABLE, becoming complete.

It is the vision of Ability Ministry to help churches become complete by equipping and empowering them to reach and embrace their disability community.

This sets us on the course for an exciting and fulfilling future.


So, what is not changing?

For over 30 years Ability Ministry has majored in residential care for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Our residential ministry will remain a core pillar of who we are as an organization. Rest assured that will not change. We absolutely love our residents. They are more than just our residents and friends they are family. They bring us joy and inspiration on a daily basis. We could not imagine life without them.

Our residents are more than family. Our residents are ministers of the Gospel of Jesus! In the year 2020 over 18 different churches will take a short term mission trip to our Riverwood campus in Louisville, TN. During each of these short term mission trips, our residents get the opportunity to minister and lead others. There isn’t a group that comes that doesn’t leave challenged and empowered by our residents. You see Disability Ministry is not a ministry “to” or “for” people affected by disability. Disability ministry is a ministry “with” and “by” people affected by disability. No better is this seen than in our residential setting.

In order to fulfill our vision, we will focus on three core components organizationally.

  • Evangelism
  • Resource Development
  • Residential Care

Our new vision, “Embracing the indispensABLE, becoming complete,” is not only for us but for you too. Jesus and Paul made it perfectly clear that is the job of the Church to reach and embrace the disability community for Christ. The Church that they speak of is not a building or just the ordained and professional Pastors that work within the walls. The Church that they speak of is made up of all the people that call themselves believers. The Church that they speak of is you. They are speaking directly to you.

We would boldly like to ask you to join us in our mission to make churches complete churches by equipping and empowering people to do the work of disability ministry.

How can you help?

  • Pray for us as we work tirelessly to fulfill the vision set before us.
  • Pray that God would lead you too to be obedient to His commands.
  • Invite us to come and help you establish a Disability Ministry at your church. Start here.
  • Pray specifically for our residents.
  • Sponsor a resident.
  • Make a tax-deductible donation to our ministry to help us.

We are excited about the future. Make sure that you stay tuned for all our ministry updates by subscribing to our newsletter.

Join us on mission!

Originally posted January 6, 2020

About Ryan Wolfe:

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.
Read more by Ryan Wolfe

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Because Jesus' table is accessible for everyone...

We desire to see the Church make room for all people affected by disability. To fully participate. To fully partner. To fully lead.

We exist to equip and empower the 25% of the population with a disability, their families, and their churches to become who God has created them to be.
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