When you’re at the point of “thinking about design” – in launching a new outreach or planting a church – think about what’s important to know and perceive, and about how that can be clear to EVERYONE.
The gospel of Jesus is itself a message of universal access. The Great Commission is a call to make that gospel universally accessible. Whether consciously or not, we in gospel ministry “design” spaces, environments, interactions that proclaim and enact that gospel. The Principles of Universal Design have proven helpful in making buildings and environments more…
Universally accessible worship or bible study or outreach would not be thrown off-track when some people engage or respond in ways that “normal” folks might perceive as “unconventional or unanticipated”… because universal design takes that into account ahead of time.
There is no “handicapped access” to the Kingdom… People with disabilities “enter by the same door” as everyone else.
The gospel addresses all people, and we are committed to making the gospel accessible to all people. This serves as a strong motivation to have the church’s “design processes” reflect these realities.
Don’t look at the way you do things now as “normal.” Because there is no “standard format” for Jesus-followers, normal in the Body may be a lot different than “normal for us.”
This is where “ableism” originates: “we” establish “ourselves” as “normal” – and having done so, what works (for “us”) works. Period. “Others” are not in view, because they are, by definition, “exceptions.”
When it is in our power to apply universal design or to make reasonable accommodations and we fail to do so, we are committing disability discrimination. And James wrote, “If you know the good you ought to do and don’t do it, you sin” (James 4:17).