An unreached people group in the U-S is receiving hope

By April 11, 2008

USA (MNN) — A ministry in the United States is staying at home to reach an unreached people group. The name of the unreached people group may surprise you. According to Shepherds Ministries the developmentally disabled ARE unreached peoples.

Shepherd's President Bill Amstutz tells us why he believes they're unreached with the Gospel. "Two to three percent of the world's population are in this classification of developmental disability and that is a huge unreached people group and they're left out of our churches, many times left out of society and they really do have the ability to trust Christ and many levels."

Started 50 years ago as a boarding school for the disabled, Shepherds is focused on the disabled population of the U-S with the residential, vocational, respite, college, spiritual and other training.

Shepherds also exists to encourage the local church to reach out to the disabled in their community. Amstutz says, "Many churches have changed their architecture, but their attitudes in the church have not changed."

He says, "Our hope is to be able to enlighten the churches, get them excited about this group of people that instead of going way across the ocean to reaching an unreached people group, but to reach them right around the corner."

Amstutz believes there are practical ways to do that. "Through their own Sunday school curriculum, ministries to group homes perhaps, to families right in the local church."

Reaching this unreached people group is challenging, but rewarding. Amstutz says, "There's a broad spectrum of cognitive developmental disabilities, but for those who do have the ability to trust Christ we have found there's no such things as a disabled soul."

As their led to Christ and discipled, he says they use their God given talents in ministry through Gospel teams and serving in the local church. "We also believe that a ministry to those with disabilities really isn't a ministry at all until the disabled — those people with the disability — are actually ministering."

The newest program, Shepherds College, will begin in the fall. We'll have more on that Monday.

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