Seminar and book launch

Monday, 12th August 2019
9.15am – 1pm
MST – Melbourne School of Theology
5 Burwood Highway, Wantirna

$15 MST Students

$30 Missions Interlink Members & Associates

$45 Non-Missions Interlink Members & Associates

Ticket price includes morning tea and a fully-catered lunch.

Registrations close on Thursday, 8 August 2019.


The morning will include addresses from authors and editors, along with opportunities to workshop practical outcomes together.

The book is available to be purchased at the book signing.

 “Disability ministry is not disability ministry until the disabled are ministering.”

Joni Eareckson Tada 

Disability in Mission– the church’s treasure outlines a radical vision for missions for the 21st century. A vision whereby weakness, vulnerability and disability are a valued part of the global mission movement.  

The authors beautifully illustrate how God works powerfully through disability.  The book begins by outlining a Biblical pattern whereby God uses seemingly “foolish” and “weak” to achieve His missional purposes.

Then, this pattern is powerfully demonstrated through the lived experience of the 10 authors.  Each author shares how the role of personal experience of disability in their mission.  The authors represent a range of disabilities, a range of approaches to mission, and a range of settings across 5 continents. But, in common, God has worked powerfully through each of their disabilities.

Yet, if there is an important role in mission for those with disability then how can we modify the mission environment and the mission field to enable people with disability to serve in missions?  The concluding chapters outline ways to promote disability inclusive missions. It challenges us to move away from models focusing on mission-to-the-disabled towards mission-of-those with disability.

This book encourages the mission agencies, sending churches and field sites to operationalise the challenge issued by the Lausanne Movement: “… church and mission leaders [need] to recognize, affirm and facilitate the missional calling of believers with disabilities themselves as part of the Body of Christ.”

When this is achieved the mission movement will no longer be disabled. It will no longer be missing an indispensable part of the body of Christ: those with disability.

“We can never be too weak for God, but we can be too strong for him. We can never be too simple, but we can be too clever; never too poor, but we can be too rich. This book boldly and biblically takes us to the great virtues of weakness and brokenness, which in our folly we would cover and hide. It takes a long time for many of us to discover our weakness IS our strength. That, after all is where God is most at home!”

“Disability in Mission: The Church’s Hidden Treasure is a gem of a resource goes a long way towards reminding us that Mission is incomplete without the active involvement of those from the margins. Those thought to be ‘weak’ are indispensible in Mission as is evidenced by the fact that God’s Mission began at the margins. Reading this book takes you through a journey of how persons with disabilities and their families transformed the landscape in which they served by sharing their gifts with these communities and as a result enriching God’s kingdom.”

“Wow! What an amazing book. What moving stories of disability serving God’s mission! When we hear the word ‘disabled’, we tend to think ‘dis-abled’, but this is not true in human life, in Christian life and ministry, or in Christian mission. In a world that worships a particular version of physical perfection and attractiveness, this book shows how God turns things upside down … or rather, the right way up! An invaluable rethink of the essential role of disability and weakness in God’s mission to the world.”

“The call in the last decade has been to recast the life and mission of the church. We no longer think of mission as being to people with disabilities, but with them. Disability in mission shows us what this looks like in reality. Here we find firsthand accounts of people with disabilities engaging in the Missio Dei to and from the ends of the earth. We able-bodied persons can now re-imagine the Church as one body with many members. The diversity of gifts and tongues will sound again as they sounded at Pentecost.”

“This book …. is vitally important to the church and its mission movement… I appeal to leaders in agencies and denominations to consider what I believe to be a compelling case for selecting and training qualified people with disabilities for mission work. It is an idea whose time is long overdue.”

“Disability in Mission does a wonderful job of helping the church see people with disability as a mission force rather than a mercy project. Drawing biblical examples of how God uses human weakness to display divine strength, the authors provide compelling stories of those who, in their weakness, have become strong in Christ. This book is a true gift to the church, as it challenges us to reorient how we see our brothers and sisters with a disability as well as instills kingdom dreams to those who may otherwise think they cannot contribute to the Great Commission.”

What does it really mean that when we are weak, Christ is strong? This volume presses that paradox home through remarkable stories of God’s grace in translating disability into Gospel power in a variety of missionary contexts. Read this and be challenged to deepen your engagement with and commitment to disability and mission. 

“Disability in Mission: The Church’s Hidden Treasure is a gem of a resource—one that I will recommend again, and again! This groundbreaking volume begins with insightful and practical theology that lays a solid foundation for the compelling and diverse stories which it contains. Written by people touched by disability who have served Christ and his kingdom around world, the personal testimonies serve as illuminating examples of how God loves to display his power in weakness, for his glory. This book will challenge your mind, move your heart, and motivate you to encourage people with disabilities to go forth as essential participants in the mission of God worldwide.”

“This book contains a vital message that needs to be heard and heeded, not just in cross-cultural mission agencies, but by the whole Christian community. Its message certainly contains a powerful challenge but it is, above all, an inspiring encouragement. What an amazing God we worship, who became weak for us in Christ and wants to use us, not in spite of our weaknesses, but through them!”

“I grew up as the son of medical missionaries in Nigeria. I remember many missionaries struggling, but I don’t remember missionaries with disabilities or with children with disabilities.  This  important book explores the power of missionaries with disabilities, or with children in their families whose  faith and call enables others to see both their gifts and struggles. For people in lands where missionaries have often been associated with dominant western cultures, these missionaries enhance a sense of mutuality that is built on both gifts and limitations. The witness of their work and call also embodies the proclamation of an authentic Gospel in which power and powerlessness are very different in God’s eyes as well as a church that affirms the dignity and the gifts of all of God’s people.  We are all called…to be the Church together.”

“David Deuel and Nathan John take an important step forward in mission studies—they highlight how people with disabilities have participated in God’s ongoing redemptive mission in the world. By building on a strong Biblical foundation and offering concrete examples of various people with different disabilities participating in the mission of the church, the authors demonstrate that when it comes to being witnesses, no one is disabled. Disability in Mission contributes to a growing conversation that calls congregations to shift from imagining ministry topeople with disabilities to embracing and supporting ministry by people with disabilities.”

“God’s economy is predictably the inverse of ours. The disciples considered Mary’s “waste” of costly perfume to be rebuke-worthy. Jesus countered by declaring that her act of worship would reverberate throughout history. The world around us speaks the language of power. The gospel travels on radio waves of human frailty.

One of the most effective missionaries I have ever known contracted polio in her childhood. It didn’t stop Elinor from pursuing her missionary call. God took her to a primitive tribal group in the rugged mountains of New Guinea. There she learned the language, strapped a chair to two poles, and was carried from village to village by an honor guard of strong warriors. They gave Elinor the name “Bad Legs.” She shared God’s love, proclaimed the gospel, and eventually helped to translate the New Testament into the tribal language. “Bad Legs” became the adored queen of those isolated mountain valleys. She was God’s “chosen instrument” for a very special task.

I’ve personally known some of the people mentioned in these pages, and witnessed the supernatural impact of their humble service. May God help us to recognize, appreciate and facilitate the priceless contribution of these “gifted ones” for his greater glory.”

“An army that refuses to recruit, train and use its best soldiers would be considered foolish and ineffective. Yet many churches and mission boards do exactly that, refusing to even consider that an adult or family experiencing disability could be effective in proclaiming the gospel in a cross-cultural context. God clearly states that the so-called weaker member is indispensable to the Church, and the contributors to this book make compelling Biblical and experiential cases for the unusual missionary effectiveness of those the world denigrates because of disability. May this book open the eyes of mission boards, pastors, senders and missionaries to God’s power and purposes in considering those experiencing disability for the mission field.” 

“This wonderful collection of stories is an important contribution to understanding how all of us, able and differently-abled, can participate in God’s mission. For centuries we have operated from a model of mission and power: money, people, strategy, speed and scale. Our society reinforces this model, with their messages of success, performance and stardom. Those who are more dependant and vulnerable are frequently seen as a problem to be solved. This book beautifully draws us back to the central gospel message of God’s grace and life flowing from what we consider to be weakness. We desperately need to grasp hold of the counter-cultural message of this book for mission and for the whole of life.”

“Disability in mission represents a paradigm shift for the medical community! It challenges all of us who practice medicine and global health to go beyond healing … and to understand that people with disability have an important role to play in ministry. And even in overseas missions. Every medic with an interest in mission should read this book.”

These stories of some of God’s mightiest missionaries are potent testimonies of His power made perfect in human weakness and imperfection. These families and individuals with disabilities are God’s secret pearls, crafted to conform to the image of Christ through the adversities of disabilities to display His finest and most beautiful workmanship while advancing His kingdom. Their presence and voices in the mission field inspire suffering people to embrace and experience the truth of “Christ in us, the hope of glory”.

“This book stunned me speechless. I read here the very objections I faced, and which God led me past when I began and continued my own career in mission. The stories in “Disability in Mission” reveal that disability can be God’s secret servant for greatest usefulness in His kingdom – a truth central to my story, too. Read these stories, be blessed, and have your world changed.

As a child, I suffered polio that left me profoundly disabled. But I knew God wanted me to be a missionary someday. My parents encouraged me, but my church didn’t. One mission agency said “no”, but World Team said they would take the chance, accepting me to do Bible translation for the Kimyal tribe from the rugged mountain ranges of West Papua.

A Kimyal man recently said, “Praise God. The people…happily carried the missionary named Elinor Young as she needed to go from church to church to teach the children…. I must do as she did and carry the Gospel of Christ to all.”

Read this unique book! Let its stories and truth inspire you, disabled or not, to carry the Gospel of Christ to all.”

“Dr Deuel and Professor John have given the Kingdom a great gift in Disability in Mission. Since Paul and his (apparent) visual disability launched out on the first mission trips, missions and disability have walked –or rolled!– the same path. Deuel and John show how God’s great design uses disability to fulfill His Great Commission. By gathering perspectives on how disability and mission buttress one another, Deuel and John have made this rich trove of Kingdom thought accessible to all believers.”

“Disability in Missions should move and inspire church’s and missionary organizations to rethink the role of the disabled in the mission field. Prof. John and Dr. Deuel, offer a vision of lives affected by disability making a real difference while disqualifying the stereotypical views on disability.  The author’s make their case that the disabled and the mission field are a perfect match…a match literally made in heaven.”

About the contributors


Jeff McNair, Natalie Flickner, Justin Reimer, Deanna Richey, Nathan, Dave Deuel,Bonnie Armistead, Jessica Pauraj, Barry Funnell and Paul Lindoewood.


Dr Nathan, is a public health physician who completed his DPHIL at Oxford University on the Christian response to HIV. In 2011 he founded a Community Based Disability program in India before working to establish a national network of disability providers across India (Engage Disability). His eldest daughter has a profound developmental disability, giving him a personal as well as professional interest in this area.

Dr David Deuel is Senior Research Fellow (Policy and Publishing) for the Christian Institute on Disability and serves as Catalyst for Disability Concerns with the Lausanne Movement. Dave gained his MA from Cornell University, and MPhil and PhD from the University of Liverpool. He was appointed Region Disability Integration Lead for the American Red Cross, and is a member of the United Nations Disability Data Working Group. He is founding editor for the Journal for the Christian Institute on Disability. He is married with four adult children; his youngest daughter has Down syndrome.

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,  and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

1 Corinthians 12:21-26

This book launch is supported by