← Back to Updates

With Ministries Quarterly Update

Flourish – Fall 2023

September 1, 2023

Thank you for your excitement and support surrounding the launch of With Ministries (formerly Friendship Ministries and All Belong’s Church Division)! Our team has felt so encouraged by your desire to be with us as we move forward as an organization. We have relished in the kind words, positive responses, and support of our community! I have thoroughly enjoyed connecting with so many of you. I remain in awe of the vast and rich legacy of With Ministries, and our team is expectant for God to continue to use our organization to further equip churches to flourish as one body.

As we move forward under the name of With Ministries, we keep our long-standing mission at the forefront. We desire to see people with and without disability growing deeper in their relationship with God and with each other in community. This fall, we are committed to rebuilding our resource library in order to have an easy onramp for pastors, church leaders, and ministry leaders to welcome, engage, and embrace the disability community in their congregation. Additionally, we are thrilled to share that we are publishing Accessible Gospel, Inclusive Worship in Spanish for the hundreds of leaders who desire to build inclusive churches in the US and Latin America. We are focusing on building a solid foundation and cannot wait to continue to build upon it in the months and years to come!

We have a unified team, a strong commitment to this work, and the calling from the Lord to prayerfully see His Kingdom reflected in more and more church communities in the US and Latin America.

Thank you for being with us in this work!

Friendship Story

My Friendship group has impacted my life because of the people I have met & spent time with. I love my Friendship group with my house sisters.

Elizabeth Bajema

Elizabeth Bajema was invited to a Friendship Group over twenty years ago, and has participated ever since. She not only attends that Group, but has also joined another Group, and launched one of her own! As a student of Barbara Newman, and congre- gant with Nella Uitvlugt, Elizabeth has soaked in the leadership, teaching, and relationship-building lifestyle they modeled. While she enjoys attending her two groups at large churches along with other friends, some of whom have Down syndrome like she does, her favorite group is her own small group.

She has led five other ladies through several units of the Togeth- er curriculum (they all really enjoy acting out the drama scripts!), and is getting ready to lead them through “The Road to Jerusa- lem” next. When studying “Unwrapping Your Gifts,” Elizabeth identified that she has gifts in leadership and teaching. That’s no surprise to those who have witnessed her life and the way she exhibits what she says is her goal: “to be like Barb Newman” -in just the way God created her to lead, teach, and build relation- ships.

With empowered me to realize that creating an inclusive community for people with disabilities is less about programs and resources, and more about the culture we work to create. Our conversation was also convicting, as I realized that we could do more to mobilize people with disabilities to use their gifts within our church to serve and build up the body.

Ben Wilson – Harvest Community Church

The Numbers

Our staff has been observing, visiting, and connecting with churches around the country over the last few months. As we seek to develop excellent resources to support church leadership, it is imperative we know the needs of churches and how we can practically meet those needs.

We spent time listening to pastors and ministry leaders to learn first- hand how With Ministries can come alongside their team to build congregations that reflect the fullness of the body of Christ.

Although churches throughout the world have been blessed by our resources and training, as we move into this new organizational season as With Ministries, we are joined by over 50 church partners. We can’t wait to expand our impact in the coming ministry year.

Across the Country

Our team connected with 16 churches to encourage their leaders toward disability inclusion across the country!

Our team provides compelling, research based, and practical training that equips church leaders to build communities and congregations where people of varied abilities flourish and belong.

To take Genesis 1 image bearing, Corinthians body metaphor, and Revelations ultimate culmination of all people together seriously, it demands true unity now. We are to be now who we will be then. Without including people with disabilities in our local churches, we will never be all that God is welcoming us to be. With all people worshiping together, we begin to look like the bride we’re becoming.

-Nika Spaulding, St. Jude

Thank you for being a part of creating a culture of withness where individuals experiencing disability flourish and belong. Our team would love to connect with you about further opportunities to support our work and mission. We are grateful to do this work with you!