The tools of the Congregational Accessibility Network (CAN) are most effectively used as a part of an overall Congregational Study Process. For more information, see the overview page for the Study Process.
Each step listed on the second page (back) of that paper document is also found below. In this way, you can see the process at a glance from the paper document or this Study Steps page. Select the plus (+) sign beside each heading to reveal more details about that step. There are also additional materials that will be helpful for that step.
Important: Congregations are made up of unique people with varying degrees of awareness, interest, and motivation toward inclusion. For maximum impact on the congregation as a whole, there are three things to keep in mind: communicate, involve, and communicate more! At each step in the process, it is important to communicate upcoming steps to the congregation as a whole, involve as many persons as possible, and communicate more fully with the key persons involved in your process.
Step I: Preparation
A. Gain approval and support from the key leadership (persons and/or groups) in your congregation. (Use the Quick Checklist to help stimulate discussion on accessibility.)
B. Rally support for your efforts as you announce your intentions to the congregation.
C. Assign the study process to an existing committee or group or form an Accessibility Study Team (“Study Team”) specifically for the process.
D. Review the entire process so that the Study Team becomes totally familiar with it and owns it.
Step II: Assessments
Step III: Analysis
A. Compile the results of the Questionnaire for analysis by the Study Team.
B. Analyze the results of the Survey.
C. Compare how the congregation feels about the level of inclusion (from the Questionnaire) with the objective analysis of accessibility (from the Survey).
D. Reflect on the overall results in light of the congregational mission statement.
Step IV: Action
A. In light of the mission of your congregation, identify both strengths and weaknesses in the ministry of including persons with disabilities in your congregational life.
B. Explore how your strengths can be used to remedy the weaknesses.
C. Develop a list of actions needed to increase accessibility and move toward full inclusion.
D. Group the actions needed into the following categories:
1. Adjustments: Can be done soon within current congregational structure and budget.
2. Changes: Can be done within the next year or two if the congregation makes a modest commitment of time and funds.
3. Projects: Require a major commitment of time and/or funding from the congregation to do.
E. Develop your priorities in an action plan supported by congregational leadership:
1. Decide how to make the adjustments as soon as possible.
2. Present proposals for changes to the congregational leadership for action.
3. Present project ideas to the leadership and work together to rally support from the whole congregation.
Step V: Evaluation
A. Decide about the future of the Accessibility Study Team. If the Study Team does not continue, who will take responsibility for the ongoing implementation of their work?
B. Plan and carry out an evaluation of the progress toward accessibility and inclusion at intervals of 6 months, one year, and each year thereafter.
C. Recognize with gratitude the adjustments and changes that have been made and the people who have needed to make them.
D. Celebrate the completion of projects with a special worship service of recognition and dedication.