Milton’s Serious About Greeting

April 14, 2014

A recent church workshop hosted jointly by Elim Christian Services and Joni & Friends Chicago has already borne fruit at nearby Christ Community Church in Lemont.
Two of the workshop attendees were co-owners of Firehouse Subs (William and Christine Vanderbilt), and had already hired someone from Elim to work at their sandwich shop in nearby Orland Park. Now, they had decided they needed to do something in their church, too. At the workshop, they talked at their table about how Orland Park Christian Reformed Church had worked with members of the staff at Bethshsan Association (a sister-agency of Elim) to provide opportunities for Bethshan residents to welcome and usher attendees to their morning worship services on one Sunday each month.
The Vander Bilts were inspired by the story of how Bethshan and Orland Park Church had worked to make this vision a reality, and they wanted to do the same thing at their church, to help them move along the journey of 'changing attitudes'. Kayla, their daughter, was excited to work with them on this project. Kayla started working in Elim's Adult Services program several months ago and is an enthusiastic member of the Elim community.
Kayla recalls how she organized this opportunity for Milton, an adult who lives in a Bethshan group home and comes to Elim for services each day. "It was important to me to get Milton involved as a door greeter at my church because I saw it as a good opportunity for my church to grow.  My church has a wonderful church family but tends to be like many other churches and people. They see our clients and don't know how to act around them."
Kayla saw something in Milton that she wanted her fellow church members to see as well. "I strongly believe that…Milton could have been the world's best pastor.  I also saw it as an opportunity for Milton to branch out and work on social skills that many people don't give him an opportunity to use. I see both my church family and Milton growing in the love and grace of Jesus Christ." 
Today, Milton greets at Christ Community Church in Lemont once a month, which means there are now at least two churches in the Chicago area who will welcome you with some of our adults who live with disabilities. But how can you get started with this opportunity?
  • Reach out to a local agency that serves people with disabilities, whether adults or children
  • Ask them if they are involved with a church or if they'd like to be involved with a church
  • Work with your greeting ministry to make sure they are comfortable with the idea
  • Connect your greeting ministry to the local agency and discuss some shared goals and identify mutual training opportunities
  • Once you have a plan in place, make sure to follow up and see how else the agency and the church can work together to reach out to and enfold area families living with and affected by disabilities
If you need help with these and other ministry opportunities involving people who have disabilities, please connect with Glenn Spoolstra, our Church Relationship Manager. Click here to contact him by email or call 708-293-6510.

Non-discrimination Policy:
It is the Standard of Elim Christian Services to admit children and adults to agency services regardless of race, color, national and ethnic origin, to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to agency service recipients. Elim Christian Services does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered policies. Read Full Disclosure.