A broad range of disabilities affect vision. Typically, a visual impairment is identified as a condition in which visual acuity is not sufficient for the individual to participate fully in activities of everyday life.
1. Accessibility. Special Needs Ministries assists church leaders in learning how to make all structures, buildings and programs available to all. The point of this goal is to provide an environment in which the blind and those with low vision feel welcome and have access to all areas of church life.
2. Education. The goal is to train people without special needs and those with special needs to work collaboratively in building God’s kingdom. Resources should be continually developed for and made available to church members. These resources will provide guidance for the inclusion of individuals with blindness or low vision throughout the church structure.
3. Encouragement. The focus of this goal is to promote participation in all aspects of church life. Providing a safe, loving environment within all levels of the church for the blind and those with low vision is the privilege of every Christian.
4. Accommodation. The goal is to help God’s family be inclusive in principle and practice. Special Needs Ministries promotes the inclusion of qualified persons with special needs in church committees, forums, volunteer services opportunities, and other ministries. These activities should be planned with accommodations in mind.
Conclusion. Living with blindness or low vision can be challenging and isolating. Multiple factors, including individual temperament, the degree of cultural acceptance of the impairment, and the degree of family and church support impact an individual’s interest in and involvement with the church. Finally, visual disabilities can impact how a person can gain access to and understand the power of the gospel. It is critical that church members address these issues when present and support worshipers with visual impairment or blindness in order to fully share the gospel message.