Workshops and Training Topics

We combine our more than 35 years of expertise in special education and our passion for inclusion to help persons of all abilities worship God together. The workshop and training topics listed in this catalog vary in length and are customized to fit your needs. From a one-hour training to a weekend retreat, from a gathering of key leaders to a weekend that includes a larger conference, we look forward to partnering with you to provide training, consultation, and/or observation services.

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Three Steps to Planning a Training Presented by All Belong

#1: Consider Your Community

  • What age group do you want to benefit from this training? (Children? Youth? Adults? One or more age group?)
  • What church setting do you want to benefit from this training? (Corporate worship? Children’s ministry? Adult small group? Other settings?)
  • What tools and people do you already have in place?
  • What tools and people are missing?
  • What is your biggest question right now?

#2: Gather Ideas

Browse the following topics to see if one or more of these topics meet the needs of your community. Note that these workshop and training topics vary in length and are customized to fit the needs of each setting and community where they are conducted.

#3: Contact Us

Contact the All Belong church services team. Email Victoria White, Director of Church Services, at vwhite@allbelong.org or call directly at 616-855-3112 to begin planning a training, workshop, or consultation for your faith community.

Suggested Workshop and Training Topics

Tory White speaking

Beginning Points

Planting our feet in Scripture, we look at why inclusion of people of all abilities is a vital part of congregational life. From there we step into a three-part plan for belonging which begins in Perspective, followed by discussion on Participation through Universal Design, concluding with a look at Personalization through Responsive Design planning.

Learn how disability impacts a family and how your faith community can offer support. Beginning with the timing of the child’s diagnosis through unique transition points in the life of a family, we will discuss effective ways the church can interact with and encourage the family, discovering what kinds of support they most need.

Belonging in Your Church Community

The most important and powerful key to welcoming children and adults with disabilities well is giving God-honoring information. Beginning with the puzzle piece perspective, in this session we share practical strategies for preparing leaders, volunteers, and peers in your congregation to eagerly receive those with disabilities into the body of Christ.

You will hear how some churches across North America are including persons with disabilities. These successes and failures will highlight important principles as you seek to build or improve the welcome your church extends. Leave with new confidence and a specific plan for your congregation.

“How do we do this?” is a question many churches ask when hoping to better include children and adults with disabilities. Whether that is a child with Down syndrome, an adult with autism spectrum disorder, a teen with AD/HD, or a senior with Dementia, we show you how to support each one. You will learn to construct a tailored plan that addresses the gifts and needs of the individual with the disability, while also preparing the congregation or peer group with necessary steps for participation. You will leave with many practical, useful tools and ideas, as well as a network of resources to support you and your community.

Behavior Management and Tools for Leaders, Volunteers, and Peers

This session will equip church volunteers, leaders, and parents with multiple tools to support individuals with unique behavior needs. While we will cover some strategies for including individuals with intense behavior needs, participants will leave with a framework to use when interacting with all individuals in their home or church settings.

Have you ever opened up your behavior management idea cupboard with a challenging student and discovered you have very few ideas left to try? If that cupboard is running empty with students who present unique behavioral, emotional, and social challenges, come to this session for some serious restocking. While perhaps not each idea will be new to you, you will discover many new options for children preschool through late teens.

It is so much easier to install the elevator when you are constructing the building than to install it later on! That concept is also true for Sunday school. Discover some important processes, equipment, and tools to build into your religious education program from the beginning so that each participant experiences a place of welcome, safety, and learning.

Understanding which tools to apply at the appropriate time is important to successful learning. Find out which options work for specific needs, whether electronics are the best option, and when to remember some older tricks, so that everyone can worship, learn, and participate in your faith and/or school community.

Faith Formation

Begin by considering the gifts, interests, and needs of your friend with a disability. Equipped with an understanding of a person with a disability, learn how to take that knowledge and use it to create an environment where you can introduce that person to Jesus.

Explore how to use Bible study materials designed for people with varied abilities. Engaging in Scripture can be far more than just words. In this workshop, you will be equipped to teach using the Together Curriculum (by Friendship Ministries), but also come away with other resources and options, so that you can lead others closer to Jesus.

Explore how to use the Vertical Habits framework (developed by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship) to foster faith formation among everyone in your community through creating an accessible language in worship. We will also cover how to create multi-sensory worship options so all can participate in your congregation. This topic also speaks into intergenerational and multi-cultural worship environments.

Informing on Specific Disabilities and Situations

Discover what AD/HD is and is not. Learn how AD/HD affects the church environment and things to consider when planning church services and programming. Learn strategies and tools to make the faith community a place of growth for individuals with AD/HD and everyone in your congregation.

With 1 in 68 children being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), it is likely that your church already includes someone with ASD. If you are a ministry leader, church school teacher, or church volunteer, discover specific ways to identify, interact with, and teach those with ASD. Using six key areas of difference, this session will take several best practices in special education and apply them to a church setting. Leave with a tool box full of new ideas to try starting next week!

Navigating ministry with persons with disabilities includes coming alongside caregivers. Oftentimes, a caregiver is an individual’s parent, though this role can also extend to adult children or the spouse of an individual. The biggest question caregivers find themselves asking is, “How can I be an effective caregiver when I am running on empty myself?” During this presentation, we will discuss supports the church can put into place, explore ideas and tools for caregivers to try, and share hope for everyone on the journey.

After the immediate crisis subsides and the casseroles are eaten up, how does the church come alongside someone who needs longer term support that may ebb and flow? What conditions might affect participation in worship and how much can the congregation do to ensure that community remains intact? Learn what conditions are challenging participation in worship, fellowship, education and service, and practical steps toward sustainable ministry with persons with chronic conditions.

In the church environment, we communicate not only with one another, but also with God in worship, prayer, and service. In a church setting, this communication seems to center on using words. For those without words, however, there should be alternate ways to communicate. Discover practical non-verbal strategies to use with individuals participating in worship, transitions, new environments, and more.

This session brings participants together to discover some important information about dementia as well as multiple practical ideas to use when interacting with someone experiencing dementia. We explore effective multi-sensory strategies, family support ideas, as well as ideas connected with worship for interacting with one another in corporate worship or individually during this season of life.

This very practical session begins with God’s design for each person and will then allow participants to understand many areas of disability such as AD/HD, struggling readers and writers, autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, sensory processing disorder and more. Each explanation is supported with multiple practical ideas to try when including individuals in a church setting. Consider coming with a team from your church so you can leave with an action plan ready to go for the next day.

What constitutes as mental health or illness? How can the church find it’s place in the need for mental health support? Questions like these and more are tackled with information and strategies so that ministry leaders, volunteers and families are equipped to support one another and effectively minister within their community.

In this workshop, learn about seven of the sensory systems and how they may vary in different individuals. Learn how variation in sensory processing translates into behaviors and needs, and what tools and adaptations to consider in the church environment for individuals who process the sensations around them differently.