Joni and Friends’ Irresistible Church E-book Series Teaches Churches to Build ‘Pathways to Belonging’

Series Tops Amazon’s Social Issues and Special Needs Categories

AGOURA HILLS, Calif., Dec. 13, 2016 – Following the recent release of the fourth book in the Irresistible Church series by Joni and Friends, “Call Me Friend,” the group has announced the availability of book number five, “Pathways to Belonging.” This resource will help churches build a flexible, adaptable disability ministry, incorporating both a buddy program and stand-alone classrooms should that be a better fit. As with the previous books in the series, it is available as a free Kindle download on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and other online bookstores.

Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 4.23.15 PMAuthor Debbie Lillo reminds readers of the purpose in building a disability ministry: “We must recognize that each of our friends who have disabilities is uniquely gifted and lovingly created in God’s image,” she writes. “It is our responsibility to create a culture that welcomes these individuals and their families, that shares the gospel with them in a way that is sensitive to their learning styles and physical needs, and that helps them to discover and practice the gifts God has given them.”

“Pathways to Belonging” is designed to give churches the practical tools required to evaluate the needs of the individuals they serve, helping them create plans that allow everyone with special needs to participate and thrive in the life of the church. “Sometimes our best efforts to include our friends who have disabilities fall short, and participation in Sunday morning classes is difficult for some individuals. When that happens for a child, teen, or adult with disabilities we have inadvertently made it challenging for them to learn about Jesus, and to build relationships with peers,” Lillo explains, emphasizing how important it is that everyone feels welcome and that they fully belong.

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; and “Call Me Friend,” an exploration of the buddy program as one method of disability ministry.  The first book quickly shot to #1 in the social issues and special needs categories on Amazon, showing the need for individuals and churches who want to serve the disability community but don’t know where or how to start. “Engaging Game Changers” currently holds the #1 spot in Amazon’s “Social Issues and Christianity” category and #3 in “Special Needs Parenting.” All of the books are designed to equip churches in becoming inclusive, welcoming communities.

All of the books in the Irresistible Church series are free, 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 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 35 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.