This blog has been established for the exchange of ideas. Posts do not necessarily reflect the philosophies of the Seminary.

Subscribe via E-mail

Your email:

Follow Us

Posts by category

Northeastern Seminary Blog

Current Articles | RSS Feed RSS Feed

Church Response to People with Disabilities: 3 Approaches


A post by guest blogger, Barbara Bushart, MDIV, MSW, adjunct professor at Northeastern Seminary. 


Between the ages of twenty-three and thirty I lost my hearing due to a genetic condition inherited from my maternal grandmother.  I began to notice that the world is frequently inaccessible and sadder still, that Christian churches and ministries also are often ill equipped to offer genuine hospitality and inclusion to those living with diverse disabilities.  Conversations with many people over the years have provided some common unhelpful approaches as well as a recommendation for incorporating people with disabilities into the full life of the Church:

The Overly- Enthusiastic Healing Approach

In this scenario, the person with a disability is viewed as an “opportunity” to display the power of God to the world by a healing event. Conversely, an absence of healing may be interpreted as evidence of unrepentant sin or a shameful lack of faith.  The person with a disability may be judged as spiritually unfit in some regard and blamed for the persistent physical condition where healing appears to fail.

The Sainthood Approach

Here, people with disabilities are held up as examples of God’s special favor, chosen to suffer as Christ suffered and to demonstrate God’s strength through weakness. Living on a pedestal is nearly as difficult as living under judgment; in both cases the categorizations create obstacles to true fellowship and mutuality. 

The “Many Members: One Body” Approach

Thankfully, many churches and fellowships are recognizing that individuals with disabilities are not objects to either cure or venerate, but simply people: people to be fully enveloped into the life of the Church, people who offer unique gifts and perspectives, people who complement other members and complete the Body of Christ. This approach requires an openness to listen to people with disabilities and to learn from them how to improve accessibility and create a church experience where the gifts of all God’s people are respected.

Barbara Bushart, MDIV, MSW, Adjunct professor,
Disability Awareness for Christian Ministers and Laypersons
Northeastern Seminary

Watch for helpful suggestions in part 2, learn more about the Disability Awareness class offered April 9 – May 7, 2012.


Thank you for this blog. Faith is for all. Worship is the very act of communion with God and there are no disqualifying conditions. Willingness is the only prerequisite. There should be no barriers for people as we attempt to worship together. 
Posted @ Monday, February 20, 2012 9:29 AM by Philip
That's indeed sad to hear that due to genetic condition you have lost your hearing. I totally agree with you that we have to learn a lot from the people with disabilities.
Posted @ Friday, December 07, 2012 12:55 AM by Artsia
I agree with all the above approaches shared by you. I completely agree with you we should learn how to improve accessibility from the people who are suffering from any kind of disabilities.
Posted @ Tuesday, December 18, 2012 9:11 PM by skin tags
You are indeed a source of inspiration for all of us. Keep up your good work. I am truly inspired by you.
Posted @ Saturday, December 29, 2012 12:15 AM by dermatend
Hi, Thanks for sharing the information. This is the best way to share the information and we can get easily.  
Keep posting.
Posted @ Saturday, March 16, 2013 2:27 AM by truck accident attorney Lake Tahoe Nevada
Excellent site I have bookmarked your site
Posted @ Wednesday, April 03, 2013 9:05 AM by
Good job. All of them are useful!
Posted @ Wednesday, April 10, 2013 5:50 AM by
thanks a lot for the post! very interesting!.
Posted @ Wednesday, April 24, 2013 4:59 AM by
I couldn’t resist commenting. Very well written! 
Saved as a favorite, I love your web site!
Posted @ Friday, August 30, 2013 3:21 PM by teknisi komputer
I don�t usually respond to articles but I will in this situation. Intriguing article. Where did you got all the info from? Anyways thank you for this superb article! My best wishes.
Posted @ Tuesday, October 01, 2013 7:06 AM by bedding
nice post. hopefully this article can be an inspiration for everyone
Posted @ Wednesday, December 25, 2013 10:34 PM by karangan bunga surabaya
we should always be grateful because there is a shortage behind wisdom
Posted @ Wednesday, December 25, 2013 10:38 PM by kado surabaya
belief in an omnipotent being very important to the lives of us all
Posted @ Wednesday, December 25, 2013 10:42 PM by pakar seo
wow thank you for sharing i think in some case i agree with you
Posted @ Friday, January 10, 2014 9:04 AM by Neo Gracio
I agree with all the above approaches shared by you. I completely agree with you we should learn how to improve accessibility from the people who are suffering from any kind of disabilities. Best Regards, 
Kayu Kokka
Posted @ Wednesday, April 23, 2014 7:09 PM by Kayu Kokka
This is useful content. Irally apreciate it! 
Posted @ Wednesday, April 30, 2014 1:35 AM by najibblog2010
Very nice write-up. I absolutely love this website. Stick with it! 
Posted @ Wednesday, April 30, 2014 1:36 AM by mikrotikno
This website was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something which helped me. Thank you! 
Posted @ Wednesday, April 30, 2014 1:39 AM by cara memperbaiki laptop mati total
I really love your site.. Great colors & theme. Did you build this site yourself? Please reply back as I’m hoping to create my very own site and want to learn where you got this from or exactly what the theme is called. Kudos! 
Posted @ Wednesday, April 30, 2014 1:41 AM by toko perlengkapan bayi
Hi, I do think this is an excellent website. I stumbledupon it ;) I am going to return once again since i have saved as a favorite it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others. 
Posted @ Wednesday, April 30, 2014 1:42 AM by ebook teknisi laptop
This website was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something which helped me. Thank you! 
Posted @ Wednesday, April 30, 2014 1:44 AM by cara memperbaiki laptop mati total
Great post, I totally agree with you! Thanks for the information!
Posted @ Thursday, August 07, 2014 10:53 PM by Kizi is a Employment opportunity hub for jobs searchers to get government recruitment 2014 notification from various government jobs sectors like Bank jobs, Railway jobs, SSC Jobs, PSC Jobs, Technical jobs in PSU's, as well Softwere jobs in IT industry. Different jobs category based on Educational qualification like 10th, 12th government jobs, ITI jobs, Diploma jobs and Graduate government jobs will help reader to search latest job opening according to their eligibility for the jobs, while All latest government jobs opening 2014 list all jobs posts.
Posted @ Thursday, August 28, 2014 9:45 AM by latest government job
Post Comment
Website (optional)

Allowed tags: <a> link, <b> bold, <i> italics