In 2010, staff from the Joni and Friends’ Christian Institute on Disability and Field Services gathered to explore their dream of a future international conference that would bring together leaders, ministers, educators and practitioners from around the world, with the goal of “accelerating disability ministry to the ends of the earth” more effectively.
The Lord blessed the staff with a single-mindedness of purpose that was Christ-centered, Church-focused, and Community-minded. In the years to come, He faithfully provided funding, a venue, speakers, participants, and servants to enable Global Access Conference 2015 to become a reality.
The GA Conference 2015 had over 1,000 attendees, with over 40 countries and 6 continents represented.
Through a combination of worship, prayer, networking, keynote addresses, interviews, workshops, and panel discussions, the conference became an unprecedented opportunity for participants to share experiences,
forge strong working relationships, and learn how to practically and effectively promote disability ministry in the Church and community at large.
Inspired by the mission of Joni and Friends, the Global Access Association (GAA) is a world-wide network of like-minded Christ-followers responding to the biblical call to accelerate Christian ministry in the disability community (Luke 14).
The purpose of the GAA is to offer practical resources and networking opportunities so Christ-followers are encouraged, educated, and equipped to effectively improve Church and community integration for individuals and families affected by disability (Luke 14:12-23, I Corinthians 12:12-27).
LOOKING FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING?
The Beyond Suffering Introduction for Christian Leaders is available on the GAA website in 7 languages: English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Hindi, Russian, and Spanish (Thai is coming soon). This 4-lesson curriculum, which is designed especially for busy pastors and leaders, helps lay a foundation for addressing some of life’s hardest questions about suffering and disability from a biblical perspective. It also assists individuals and organizations that wish to begin or expand their ministry to those affected by disability.
Resources are organized according to 4 main themes (Disability Ministry, Theology of Disability, Understanding Disability, and Society & Ethics) and 24 sub-themes (as shown in the diagram on the right). This structure is an outgrowth of the four primary modules of the Joni and Friends’ Beyond Suffering curriculum.
LOOKING TO CONNECT WITH OTHERS?
There are four different types of connection offered through our networking forums, each of which are accessible via our Main Forum Page.
Regionally-based forums provide an opportunity for people who are relatively near to one another to connect and share best practices, resources, and local opportunities in the following regions: Africa, North America, Central & South America, Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, Middle East, and Oceania.
Theme-based forums provide a platform for discussing website resources, advancing the global conversation on disability ministry, and identifying issues of emerging importance.
Affinity groups provide an opportunity for individuals with specific backgrounds or interests to connect with one another on more sensitive issues.
Working groups are a platform for developing new resources related to the quarterly theme.
The success and growth of the GAA hinges on the active involvement of each of its members. It is our desire that GAA members will not only personally benefit from the practical resources and networking opportunities available on the site, but will expand the ministry of the Association through mutual exchange and the ongoing development of new disability-related resources.
The Global Access Association Leadership & Service Team