WHAT IS TOGETHER?
TOGETHER is an innovative approach to Bible study that is designed to help congregations develop a sense of true belonging among people of all levels of ability. Through the use of interactive videos, Bible presentations, discussion prompts, and more, people with and without disabilities can grow in faith TOGETHER.
TOGETHER has two parallel tracks of study. The first is designed for use in a traditional disability ministry setting, such as the 1,000+ Friendship groups that are active in the US and Canada. It offers activities, such as worship songs and dramas, that are appropriate to larger groups. The second track is designed to support the formation of small groups that include adults with and without disabilities. It contains more challenging discussion prompts, while keeping the interactive flavor that will appeal to adults of all learning abilities. The topics are relevant to both populations and both tracks contain appropriate supports to enable the full participation of all.
“I asked my daughter who has Down syndrome how she felt about the new
material. She said, ‘I like it really much. God blessed me with the videos.’”
SCOPE AND SEQUENCE
Each session is presented in two versions: for Friendship groups and for inclusive adult small groups.
UNIT 1: CHOOSE COURAGE
Courage When Life is Tough
God is With You
|Deuteronomy 31: 1-8|
Learning to Listen
Into the Water
Courage for a Lifetime
UNIT 2: JESUS: FACE TO FACE
Meeting Jesus Through Other People
|Luke 5: 17-26|
Meeting Jesus When We Feel Lonely
|John 4: 3-30; 39-42|
Meeting Jesus When We Are Not Well
|Mark 5: 22-43|
Meeting Jesus When We Feel Guilty
|Luke 19: 1-10|
Meeting Jesus with His Scars
|Luke 24: 36-49|
Meeting Jesus Through Our Doubt
|John 20: 19-29|
Meeting Jesus Through the Faith of Others
|2 Timothy 1: 2-7|
Meeting Jesus Again and Again
|Acts 9: 10-19|
UNIT 3: UNWRAPPING YOUR GIFTS
What Are Spiritual Gifts? (Part 1)
|Acts 6:1-7; 8:26-39|
What Are Spiritual Gifts? (Part 2)
What are My Spiritual Gifts?
|Exodus 3:7-10; 4:1-16|
What Is the Purpose of Spiritual Gifts?
|Acts 2:42-46; 12:1-16|
How Can I Use My Gifts?
UNIT 4: LIVING WITH PAIN
|Romans 8: 18-30|
|Romans 8: 19-22; John 9: 1-7|
|Romans 8: 22-23; Mark 15: 25-34|
God is With Us
|Romans 8: 26-27; Daniel 3: 16-30|
We Walk Together
|Romans 8:29; Ruth 1|
We Have Hope
|Romans 8: 24-25, 28-30; Job 1: 13-20; 19: 23-27|
Mary: Giving Birth to Good News
|Luke 1: 26-56; Luke 2: 1-19|
Joseph: Christmas Starts with Compassion
|Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 2:4-7|
COMING UP NEXT…
Acts: Living in Community
Covenant: The Long Haul God
The Road to Jerusalem (Lent)
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Robert De Moor
Author of Focusing on God’s Word for Gifts Unwrapped (available Spring 2017)
Robert De Moor has been in Gospel ministry for over forty years. He has served as a lead pastor in five congregations and as editor-in-chief of Faith Alive Christian Resources for eight years. He has also served as editor-in-chief of his denomination’s official monthly magazine, The Banner. In his pastoral ministry De Moor has worked closely with Friendship leaders to plan Sunday worship services and messages for the whole congregation that were led by, and tuned to the needs and interests of, Friendship participants. Those services have always been his favorite.
Author of Choose Courage; Christmas: Focus on Mary (available Fall 2016); and Prayer (coming in 2017)
Barbara J. Newman is a church and school consultant for CLC Network. She is the author of several books, including Accessible Gospel, Inclusive Worship, Helping Kids Include Kids with Disabilities, Nuts and Bolts of Inclusive Education, Autism and Your Church, and Body Building: Devotions to Celebrate Inclusive Community. She has written curriculum for Friendship Ministries, serves as a program affiliate for Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, and is a frequent national speaker at educational and church conferences. She was the recipient of the Henri J. M. Nouwen award in 2015. In addition to writing and speaking, Barbara enjoys working in her classroom at Zeeland Christian School.
Author of Focusing on God’s Word for Choose Courage and Living with Pain (coming in 2017)
Rev. Mark Stephenson, M.Div., Th.M., was ordained as Minister of the Word in the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) in 1989. He served as pastor of two churches before becoming Director of Disability Concerns for the CRC in 2006.
Mark has served on the Friendship Ministries board, executive committee, and curriculum committee for the past two years. Previously, he was involved with a Friendship group for 16 years. He and his wife, Bev, have six living children, including their oldest, Nicole, who was born extremely prematurely and lives joyfully with severe, multiple disabilities.
Author of Focusing on God’s Word for Jesus: Face to Face; Christmas: Focus on Mary (available Fall 2016); Unwrapping Your Gifts (available Spring 2017); Prayer (coming in 2017); and Acts: Living in Community (coming in 2017)
Rev. Barry Chance is the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Hammond, Louisiana. He holds degrees in Business Management and Religious Studies from North Carolina State University and a Masters of Divinity from Union Presbyterian Seminary. He currently serves on the board of Evergreen Life Services, a Presbyterian ministry that provides supports for people with developmental disabilities, and previously served 7 years on the board of Friendship Ministries, including several years as president. He was part of the design team for the Friendship Psalms book. He also served as a mentor and program leader for a Friendship Class in Shreveport, Louisiana, for seven years when he was a pastor there.
Author of Jesus: Face to Face and Acts: Living in Community (coming in 2017)
Tom has been an educator in Christian schools for 32 years. He has spent 27 of those years at Zeeland Christian School, where students with different disabilities have been included in his classroom from third grade up to sixth grade. He has led adult Bible studies, served as an elder, and is currently one of the leaders of a missional community at his church where he helps lead the group in times of worship, fellowship, and outreach to a local nursing home.
Author of Unwrapping Your Gifts (available Spring 2017)
Dr. Evelyn McMullen has more than 30 years’ experience in Christian education ministry at congregational and district levels. Since 2004, her ministry has focused on reaching out to the community of people with developmental disabilities in Lakeland, Florida. She holds a masters’ degree from the Presbyterian School of Christian Education (Richmond, VA) and a doctor of educational ministry degree from Columbia Theological Seminary (Decatur, GA). Dr. McMullen’s dissertation was on the spiritual life of adults with intellectual disabilities. She says, “Bible study has been an important part of my Christian journey. I’m grateful for the way my fellow-learners in Friendship Groups have opened my heart to deeper understanding of God’s Word.” Dr. McMullen is the executive director of Bright Threads Ministries, a nonprofit which trains church leaders and volunteers to “weave people of ALL abilities into the Body of Christ.”