Some of the Most Unreached People in the United States
Written by Shannon Dingle on August 23, 2012
What if you found out that a specific group of families in your community were unreached with the gospel? What if I told you that families from this group regularly share stories with me about rejection from churches?
You’d want to know the group, wouldn’t you? I could simply tell you, but instead I’ll let the facts speak for themselves.
For starters, take a look at these facts about families and children.
- Nearly one in six children has a developmental disability. (source)
- Approximately 1 in 88 children has an autism spectrum disorder. (source)
- When parents learn of their unborn babies' diagnosis of Down syndrome prenatally, 92% choose to abort rather than welcome a son or daughter with Down syndrome. (source)
- When a couple has a child with autism or ADHD, some research indicates that (a) the rate of divorce is nearly twice as high and (b) the risk of divorce lasts longer into adolescence/adulthood as for parents whose children don’t have disabilities. (source and source)
Then review some more facts from US Census data in 2008 (source).
- 19% of the American population lives with some level of disability (54 million people, which is roughly the size of the combined populations of Florida and California).
- 12% of the population (35 million people) has a severe disability.
- 11 million people with disabilities in the US need assistance with everyday tasks.
Finally, consider these facts about disability and the church.
- Some disability ministry leaders have estimated that 85-90% of people with disabilities are unchurched. (source and source)
- People with disabilities are less likely to attend worship services, Bible studies, and other church activities than those without disabilities. (source)
- People with autism are more likely to be atheists and more likely to reject organized religion in general. (source)
My future posts here as well as the pre-conference labs I’ll present at D6 2012 will equip you to move forward in reaching out to these families. For now, my prayer is that your eyes are opened to the great opportunity we have to introduce families with great needs to our great God.
Shannon Dingle is the Access Ministry coordinator at Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC. Former special education teacher. MAEd in Special Education. Wife to Lee. Mom to Jocelyn, Robbie, & Zoe (two homegrown, one adopted from Taiwan). She blogs at theworksofgoddisplayed.com.
Posted in: Ministry
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