The Ministry of Lisa Copen

Lisa Copen, Founder of Rest Ministries which serves the chronically ill, shares about mothering, illness, ministry and more.

Invisible Disabilities: Effective Tools Every Church Should Have


As presented at the Joni and Friends Disability Ministry Summit, 2007

With nearly one in two people having a chronic illness, it impacts most families; the invisibility of it, however, often inhibits the church from realizing its prevalence and how many people are suffering silently. It’s easy for hurt feelings to abound and for ill people to feel like a burden, not a blessing. Awareness and simple tools to increase your outreach to both members and non-members will make your church a shelter from life’s storms.

YOU WILL LEARN…

  • Why the church needs to know that half their audience on Sunday may look a lot better than how they feel. For example, 75% of marriages that include an illness end in divorce. Learn why illness ministry needs to be understood by all church staff and how to get their attention when they already have too much to do.
  • How to uncover the needs people with illness have if they don’t speak up until they’ve decided to leave the church. How to avoid hurt feelings and increase communication.
  • Practical ways to get your church body more enthusiastic about meeting the needs of church members who live with illness, how to approach your church about it, and set ministry priorities. How to teach them about the blessings the chronically ill will bring, not burdens.
  • How to respond when the church leadership says, “But he’s not a member… so we can’t help him.” Reaching beyond our church walls is vital because New Age religions do it very well and people in pain follow whoever shows them love.
  • How to create a welcoming environment for the chronically ill members and visitors in ten inexpensive, fast ways.

Appropriate for Christian audiences. 60 minutes, but can be adapted.

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