Book Review: Enabling Church

Enabling Church Book Review

A short review of a short book today! I was interested to read this little gem of a book aimed at equipping churches to be more inclusive of disabled people. This book – with two authors, Gordon Temple and Lin Ball, is a product of “Torch Trust”, an international Christian organization serving people with sight loss – website at http://www.torchtrust.org – and its pretty cool to note on the back that this book is “published simultaneously in giant print, Braille and audio formats“. This book is a brilliant one, providing useful information, inspiration, and sample bible studies.

One of the most useful parts of  this slim volume are the various sections on WHAT disability is – providing a full picture, and equipping those of us who are ignorant (me) to think better about disabled people. There is a brilliant section, drawn from the Lausanne 2010 Cape Town commitment, which gives a real sense of cross-denominational authority to the book – and will hopefully stifle any criticism. There is also a useful section on holding an accessibility audit – many churches (and this is my experience too) are not particularly well thought out for disabled people – beyond perhaps a dated pa/hearing loop – often because of historically small church attendance by those less able. 

The meat of this book is in the seven bible studies that can be used. The titles give a useful nod as to what they are about, so I will share them here, without ruining the content;

“1: Knowing we’re made in his image.

 2: Fearfully and wonderfully made.

 3: Standing up for justice.

 4: Experiencing God in togetherness.

 5: Entering the Gate called Beautiful.

 6: Living with diversity.

 7: Going to the great banquet.”

I don’t know about you, but each of those presents – even as ideas – a great set of challenges to the able bodied parts of the Church.

Framing the book, and interwoven into it, are quotes and stories from a bunch of people that the book introduces early on; “Quoted on the Disability Wall“. The range of names here is impressive, witha a variety of people: from Susan Boyle to Irenaeus, Helen Keller to John Stott. Each of the individuals named and quoted in this book has fascinating and crucial experience/knowledge/insight onto this issue – some of their observations and stories are worth the price of admission alone!

I’d highly recommend this book – especially to those in leadership, be that of a church, ministry, or even (and perhaps especially) a small group. This is a book that equips us to be inclusive in a biblical way. Its small size, impeccable credentials, and great central resource make it a valuable tool for the church. I hope people in leadership will read it, digest it, and apply it! Big thanks to SPCK for the review copy, and for publishing this needed book.

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