Joni and Friends Offers Training and “Beyond Suffering” Course
Posted Jun 10 2010 9:37am
When I first began chronic illness ministry in 1997, it was something that had not really been spoken about in the mainstream. There were ministries for those in the hospice situation as well as those who had cancer. And the ministry that I turned to to find encouragement and resources was Joni and Friends. Over the years there have been an increasing number of classes available in seminary for pastoral staff to learn more about illness and disability ministry. Some of Rest Ministries books and resources have even been used as curriculum.
Joni and Friends International Disability Ministry now has an increasing number of opportunities for those looking for educational experiences or credit. I remember being at a Joni and Friends leadership conference and Joni joked around basically saying, “None of us here really know what we are doing, right? I mean really, who of us was ‘trained’ for disability ministry?” And the truth was, even if one had wished to be trained for disability ministry, there were few, if any, opportunities.
Now Joni and Friends has set up a variety of resources for those looking to be professionally trained in disability ministry so that one can feel better prepared and equipped. We have all been told and have experienced the fact that God will equip you if you are ‘called’ by Him to do a certain kind of ministry. And some of us feel like we’ve received a little bit too much education first-hand in the area of disability ministry! Although we should not allow the fact that we do not have any kind of formal training to prevent us from following God’s calling, how many of us would like to be around others who have similar passions, and see what they have experienced in their journey, and also learn from them? I know I would!
Although we understand that many of you cannot hop on a plane and go take a 32-hour week-long class, please rejoice with us that something like this is possible and please keep the program in your prayers (because it’s just the kind of area that will surely experience some spiritual warfare.)
This program is 32 hours and is a certificate program, meaning that you can get educational credits for it. It will provide the student with an understanding of the general aspects of ministry for those who live with disabilities. This is a class that will take place in Agoura Hills, CA.
The class, called “Beyond Suffering” is made up of four parts. These consist of:
There will be lectures, discussions, video training, and hands-on experience which will teach evangelism, how to welcome one of the disability into a church, and how to empower those who are impacted by disabilities.
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