Project: Joni and Friends
Bret Welshymer


Mobilize the global church to evangelize, disciple, and serve people living with disability.

Project Categories

  • Church Planter Recruiting and Equipping
  • Disciple Making and Church Engagement
  • Methods and Models for Mobilizing Everyday Missionaries

Big Idea and Overview

Continue to implement a global plan that builds geographically localized networks of churches that inspire, train, and mobilize the Church worldwide to build a culture that embraces individuals and families affected by disabilities as an indispensable part of the body of Christ. Churches that are for, with, and by people affected by disability whereby relationships, that is belonging, supersede programs. This strategy includes evaluating church traditions for inclusiveness, exploring how people are valued by the church in light of a biblical worldview, understanding the importance of belonging—being wanted and needed, engaging those with disabilities without any preconceptions, and the role that obedience to God’s Word plays in changing the culture of a church. Training resources that center around a biblical worldview on disability and a 5-stage process of church culture change are central to building and supporting the 36 networks established in the past two years.

Customer / Mission Field Context

The nearly 1 billion people around the world living with disabilities encounter culturally entrenched physical and social barriers that prevent them from finding a place of belonging in the body of Christ. Many of these individuals and their families live in poverty, pain, and despair.

Goals and Desired Outcomes

  • Networks of leaders from churches and Christian organizations are formed in all metropolitan areas across the United State for providing training, encouragement, and collaboration, while working through a 5 stage process of church culture change, resulting in a world where every person with a disability finds hope, dignity, and their place in the body of Christ.
  • Institutions and organizations equipping leaders to plant churches will include biblical understanding and training for evangelizing, discipling, and serving people living with disability.
  • Vision casting and training opportunities for evangelizing, discipling, and serving people living with disabilities will be improved and more effectively implemented through pastors and church leaders around the world.

Results and

  • Established 36 church networks meeting regularly in 25 US states
  • 290 churches participating in networks
  • 573 churches moved at least one stage forward in the 5 Stages of Culture Change toward full inclusion ministry
  • 200 new relationships with disability service providers
  • 98 new relationships with like-minded organizations