McNair Named 2022 Recipient of AAIDD’s Reimagining Spirituality Leadership Award

Dr. Jeff McNair

Dr. Jeff McNair has been named the 2022 recipient of the Religion and Spirituality Leadership Award.

McNair is professor of Special Education at California Baptist University (CBU). After receiving his BA in Christian Education (Wheaton College), he completed an MA (Cal State LA) and a Ph.D. in Special Education (University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana). He went on to teach at Cal State San Bernardino for 15 years and has been at CBU since 2004 training teachers to educate students with extensive needs. While completing his education, he and his wife Kathi have been involved in disability ministry at the local churches they attended, starting in 1974.

Over these years, Jeff increasingly saw the connection between community integration and the potential of the local Christian community. Study of the Bible led to a growing understanding of a Biblical perspective on disability resulting in writing, lecturing and teaching about this perspective. He also worked for ten years for the Joni and Friends organization allowing him to teach about disability ministry/theology in 21 countries on 5 continents. Jeff founded the Disability Studies MA at CBU arguably the first grad program in disability ministry. He has delivered numerous sermons and has over 60 publications on these issues. His weblog disabledChristianity has resulted in two books.

For the last 30 years, he and Kathi have facilitated The Light & Power Company, a ministry that includes adults with developmental disabilities at Trinity EV Free church in Redlands, California also resulting in the publication of curriculum for adults with intellectual disabilities most recently on Philippians. Jeff has also been involved with his son Josh producing father/son travel videos the most successful on Route 66 which has ten million views (Through My Lens). Second only to his love for his family, the passion of Jeff and Kathi’s lives has been that the Christian church would truly love their neighbors with disabilities.

The Award was presented at the AAIDD Religion and Spirituality Interest Network Forum on June 13, 2022