ABC Journey of disability inclusion

ABC Journey of disability inclusion


Tim Wood, our Through the Roof CEO, shares why we want to tell everyone about the ABC Journey of Disability Inclusion.

My daughter recently celebrated her birthday and wanted me to build a balloon arch for her party! After blowing up 100 balloons, I realised I had no structure to help keep it upright. I had to get creative and use glue dots, plastic tape and plenty of string to assemble my work of art! It took four hours... Having a ready-made structure would have made it a lot easier.

At Through the Roof we thought providing a ready-made structure might be a helpful tool for churches and everyone on the journey of disability inclusion. So we are sharing a framework – the ABC journey – which stands for Access, Belonging and Commission.

Through the Roof have now adopted this ABC journey model to ensure all our activities help us achieve one or more of the three ABC outcomes, enabling disabled people to be fully involved in God’s Kingdom.

What is the ABC journey?

The ABC is a simple three-part framework which forms a natural progression to help people think through how to include disabled people. It reflects the fact that disability inclusion in church and Christian life is a journey through different stages.

Stage 1 – Access: For everyone to know Jesus, with disabled people fully welcomed into Christian life.

The focus here is not just on a physical dimension, but ensuring disabled people can access God’s love, whether that is physically accessing a building or through having proximity to community and the ability to connect regularly with other Christians. Practical examples to consider include having Blue Badge parking available, level access to activities, accessible toilet, large print and hearing loop system.

Stage 2 – Belonging: For everyone to grow together as the family of God, with disabled people flourishing in community with others.

This looks at disabled people being more fully involved in the family of God and the life of the local church, finding a place of belonging and growing in relationship with God and others. Some practical questions: Are disabled members invited to church activities? Can they be part of small groups? Are they missed by others when they aren’t present? Is the culture of the church one of acceptance for who people are, as well as encouraging them to be more fully the person God wants them to be?

Stage 3 – Commission: For everyone to reflect Jesus, with disabled people making disciples, to the glory of God.

Finally, Commission is helping to equip and empower disabled people to use their gifts, skills and testimony to glorify God and share the Gospel. Practical considerations: Is the church helping disabled people to identify their gifts? Are they providing opportunities to use their gifts? Are disabled people encouraged into positions of responsibility? Are disabled people represented at leadership level in the church?

Katie’s ABC journey

One of the joys of our role at Through the Roof is that we get to journey alongside other at different stages of this process. Katie, our Roofbreaker Team Leader, is a great example of the ABC journey in action. Katie shares her own experience of the journey here.

“I am a Christian and wheelchair user. I have been blessed to encounter Jesus and be part of an active church and Christian community. I have also known times where I have felt isolated and on the edge of community, being very conscious of barriers that exist, both physically and in terms of the different attitudes towards disability within church. From the point where I came to know Jesus, God spoke to me through Psalm 139 which talks about how we are fearfully and wonderfully made. God not only knows and loves us completely but has a unique and specific plan for each one of us.

This has been transformational for me. I am on a journey with God to live out his plan for me. I started out as a volunteer for TTR and went on a mission trip to Tanzania. Now I’m a full-time TTR staff member, with the privilege of enabling more people to access the Gospel and to experience the depth of belonging that comes from knowing God and being known by others in Christian community. Over the last few years, I have been drawn back to Jesus’ instruction to the disciples in Matthew 28:19-20 (The Great Commission): 'Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations.'

Jesus calls all people with and without disability to be part of his mission. I am so excited about the ABC journey because I believe that it is a pathway for more disabled people to be released for mission, sharing their gifts and skills to the glory of God. The ABC acronym is easy to remember, so it reminds us of God’s ‘Great Commission’. It represents an invitation for each and everyone of us – it is the Gospel in action.”

Your ABC journey

Help your church or community to include disabled people – become a Roofbreaker!

Roofbreakers are volunteer disability champions in churches or ministries who help to break down barriers to Access, Belonging and Commission.

You don’t need to be an expert in disability to be a Roofbreaker. You just need to be available to connect with disabled people, travelling together with them on the ABC journey. Follow this link to find out more.

With a Roofbreaker, your church or community can send a positive message to disabled people by joining our online map of Roofbreakers in churches. You can be on the map whether your church or ministry is just starting, or continuing, on the ABC journey towards better disability inclusion.

Find out how your church can be blessed by the full involvement of disabled people at: or @TTRChangesLives on social media.