Ministry Focus: Shining Stars
Curriculum writer: Kim Albrecht
Big Idea: Each of us are made in the image of God. We are image-bearers and collectively make up The Church.
John 9:1-3 “As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
In the passage above, Christ saw the man first. But those who had been spending time closely with Christ still didn’t have a right understanding of disability. Christ makes it clear that disability is not a punishment for sin. God has a purpose in disability not despite disability. Light rises in the darkness when we roll up our sleeves. When our faith benefits others it delights God. Light rises in the darkness when we roll up our sleeves. The reward of loving others is, “You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”
Key Passages: Genesis 1:26-27, John 9:1-2, 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, 12-27
Do we say someone is autistic or do we say they are someone with autism? I know not to use the R word but what about special needs or disability? Are those now considered derogatory terms? I don’t know.
My teenage daughter has type 3 nonverbal autism, epilepsy, hypotonia, she requires 24/7
supervision needs help in all self-care areas, and I still don’t know. I have partnered with the California Department of Disabilities as a parent consultant and even host a weekly podcast
focused on the disability community and still don’t know.
Lately, my preferred way to acknowledge this aspect of a person is to use the term differing abilities or differently abled. I prefer differing abilities because it reminds me how Jesus sees His church and how God has a track record of using unexpected populations. Again and again, God will choose the individual whose abilities are different to do His greatest work.
Abraham and Sarah had different reproductive abilities than their younger counterparts and were the beginning of a great nation. Moses likely had different abilities in his capability to speak eloquently and became the spokesperson for our oppressed spiritual ancestors. David was a small boy who had different abilities than the big mighty soldiers and took down Goliath with a sling shot and rock. The twelve disciples had different abilities than the educated
Pharisees yet were chosen to spread The Gospel message to the ends of the earth. His is a church of differing abilities, all pointing to an aspect of His character, collectively
reflecting His image.
For the most part, my life has been one of living in the world of expected abilities. I have
resources, I am educated, confident and I can be convincing. My circle tends to be among
others who have the same abilities. Thankfully, God gave me a daughter who pulled back the curtain on differing abilities. I know I would have not entered voluntarily and thus would have missed seeing the way His Kingdom spreads through unexpected populations. I would have missed aspects of His character reflected in the disability community.
Christ’s Church is one where those with differing abilities are given the same assignment as those with expected abilities, to point to His glory and make disciples. The Church was launched over 2000 years ago with a diverse, unexpected group. It’s how He did it then, and it’s most likely how He will continue to do it in the future.
I am thankful God has shaped my life in such a way that I get to peek behind the curtain and see His Kingdom and Church operating as He designed. I am thankful for a God who not only cares for the unexpected population but gives them great honor in the body of believers and invites us all to see who He is through them.
- When/how did you become aware of God’s love?
- Who were the people who played a key role in your spiritual journey? How?
- What are 2/3 key moments in your relationship with God?
- Do you have friends or family members with a differing ability, or do you have one yourself?
- Have you ever participated in Calvary’s Shining Stars ministry or a similar event for individuals with differing abilities? What was your experience?
Read: Genesis 1:26-27, John 9:1-3
- When you picture the “Image of God”, what/who do you see? What part of God’s image do you think is reflected in individuals with differing abilities?
- If you spend time in disability circles or have participated in Shining Stars or other
service opportunities, what parts of God’s image are you seeing reflected?
Read: 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, 12-27
- What do you see as your gift, ability, or contribution to the Church?
- Where does God give great honor in the body of believers?
- How can you encourage and support others to recognize and use their gifts so as to build up The Body of Christ?
Weekly Prayer Focus: Pray for the courage to go beyond your comfort zone to serve children in need.
- Serve at the Shining Stars Respite on December 14th / 10am-2pm.
- Volunteer as Sunday Buddy or in the Shining Stars classroom.