Barnabas, Then and Now

Facilitating the Inclusion of Persons with Disability in Worship Communities

  • Ben Rhodes
  • Richard Langer
Keywords: inclusive ministry, Barnabas, disability ministry, building bridges


This paper examines church ministry to persons with disabilities. Although it is not clear how underrepresented persons with disability are in Church, as compared to other areas of society, it is clear the Church has much work to do to adequately reflect Jesus to a watching world. First, this paper considers several barriers to inclusion which many churches struggle to correct. Then, it suggests that one of the best ways to overcome these barriers is to find and encourage people, who can assume Barnabas-like roles in the congregations. In these roles persons serve as initiators by being persistent advocates and extending their own personal boundaries. Churches are also responsible to create “Barnabas-friendly” environments, where Barnabas-like volunteers can serve and flourish.

How to Cite
Rhodes, B., & Langer, R. (2019). Barnabas, Then and Now. Journal of the Christian Institute on Disability, 1(1), 43-60. Retrieved from