Few church leaders deny or doubt that youth programmes can be a wonderful way to attract children and teenagers into their congregations. Some churches have youth groups that meet on a daily or weekly basis. For others, a few retreats a year may serve the needs of their younger community.
In many churches youth group meetings often consist of games, team-building activities, and lessons through the stories of the Bible. Bible teaching is delivered in a way most appropriate to the group.
If this approach is a case for attracting youth into our congregations, so it is for people with learning disabilities and their families.
Including people with learning disabilities in the life of the church can have a profound impact on a family’s life. A parent may have the opportunity to explore their own faith and gifts as an individual, where previously they may have abstained from attending church services to care for their son or daughter alone at home.
I don't mind people knowing that I struggled with church because of my learning disability. I just couldn't understand what people were talking about in church. Then I started going to a Prospects Group. They helped me to learn about Jesus, how he died for us and about forgiving everybody. – Sarah, from Lincoln.
Since Prospects was founded in 1976, the charity has provided training to equip many hundreds of churches to establish ministry group programmes for people with learning disabilities. These groups were often known as Causeway groups.
Today well over 200 groups are flourishing with over 3,000 adults with learning disabilities attending. This is in addition to the many churches equipped by Prospects to teach a small group in their churches.
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