‘Are You Ready?,’ Latest Release in Joni and Friends’ Irresistible Church E-book Series, Explores Disability Leadership

Books Top Amazon’s Social Issues and Special Needs Categories

AGOURA HILLS, Calif., July 5, 2017 Following the release of book #6 in the Irresistible Church series by Joni and Friends, “Shout for Joy!,” the group has announced the release of the seventh book in the series, “Are You Ready?” This book will serve as a challenge to ministry leaders to consider the perspective of disability ministry in their churches and will help them understand why individuals with disabilities are an essential part of the body of Christ. “Are You Ready?” provides insight as to how a leader’s heart for disability trickles down and influences the congregation as a whole.AreYouReady_small

 Author Mike Dobes asks the question “What does it mean to fully belong?” and answers: “life within an authentic community where the walls of our guarded hearts can come down, where honesty and acceptance reign, and where each person is valued for his or her unique gifts and abilities.”

According to Dobes, “An irresistible church finds a way to remove obstacles and minimize hindrances, resulting in a wonderful mosaic of people with all abilities worshipping and serving God together.”

All too often, well-meaning churches and pastors can establish what they think of as a disability ministry – accommodations for individuals with disabilities to attend their church.  However, there is a great difference between “allowing” and “embracing,” which means enabling and empowering the individual to use his or her unique gifts in worshipping and serving as a fully-functioning member of the church Body. “The church is not intended to be a place where we revel in and boast about our perceived strength,” Dobes writes. “Rather, it is a place where the broken, humble, lost, and marginalized may come together in a wonderful assembly that embraces people as they are, reflecting the gracious love that God has given to each of us.”

Previous books in the series include: “Start with Hello,” an introduction to disability ministry; “Engaging Game Changers,” a guide to training volunteers; “We’ve Got This!,” explanation and instruction for a respite program for individuals with disabilities and their caregivers; “Call Me Friend,” an exploration of the buddy program as one method of disability ministry; “Pathways to Belonging,” a study in the various ways that churches can construct disability ministries to meet their specific needs; and “Shout for Joy!,” which provides practical solutions for how worship leaders can make worship more accommodating.

The first book quickly shot to #1 in the social issues and special needs categories on Amazon, showing that individuals and churches want to serve the disability community but don’t know where or how to start. Each book since has similarly spent some time at the top of Amazon’s “Social Issues and Christianity” and “Special Needs” categories.

Designed to equip churches in becoming inclusive, welcoming communities, all of the books are engaging, short resources – 50 pages or so – and include links to downloadable tools introduced in the book’s instructions, such as worksheets for gauging needs, training modules for volunteers, etc. These are available for free at the website that corresponds to the book series, www.IrresistibleChurch.org, also launched by Joni and Friends to equip churches in becoming irresistible.

For more than 38 years, Joni and Friends has worked to accelerate ministry to the disability community around the world, offering a wide array of life-affirming ministries, including the Christian Institute on Disability; Wheels for the World; international radio and television programs filled with inspirational stories; and Family Retreats, where families affected by disability learn they are not alone. For more information, please visit http://www.joniandfriends.org/.

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Note to Editors: For more information or to arrange an interview with Joni and Friends representatives, please contact Melany Ethridge of A. Larry Ross Communications at 972.267.1111 or melany@alarryross.com.