Written by Anonymous | ASL by Brandon Gaskin
Our team recently posted on Instagram a “Dear Church” post: “Dear Church, more than ever, we need you to invest in your Deaf members.”
This is all too true. In a recent poll we conducted, this is what we learned:
- 78% of Deaf people have left a church that refused to become inclusive and accessible to them.
- 85% said that their churches are not currently equipping Deaf members to lead.
- 78% said their churches are not pursuing or reaching Deaf people.
- 85% said their churches do not have any Deaf people on their church leadership team.
The Church has always been committed to reaching and equipping all people. But somewhere along the line “all” became “just people who can hear.” Somewhere along the line, Deaf people became just “a small ministry in the corner of the hall,” by themselves, alienated from the rest of the church.
A Deaf church ministry in Dallas, TX in the early 50s once held over 400 Deaf members. Today, it currently holds an average of 50-60 members. Somewhere along the line, its mother church (a hearing church) no longer held it at its core. We don’t know all the details, but here’s what we do know. The Deaf can no longer be a small ministry in the corner of the church. The Church has to refocus its shift from looking at Deaf people as a “ministry” to a “people group.” From a “project to fix” to “everyday people like you” who are in need of the Gospel.
Organizations such International Mission Board, Deaf Bible Society, D.O.O.R International, Deaf Missions and others all agreed and have proven that Deaf people are one of the most unreached and unengaged people in the world.
With more than 70 million Deaf in the world, 98% still do not know Christ. There are over 400 sign languages (each country has its own respective sign language) in the world and only one has a fully completed Bible in their heart language (American Sign Language). We can not be content with this. Church commitment has been replaced by complacency.
Can I beg you? Can I urge you? Dear Church, teach us, mentor us, and equip us.
Don’t let language be a barrier. That has never stopped you before! The mission trips that you and your church have gone on to other countries has required you to immerse yourself in another language and culture. So there is no difference except Deaf people just live in your backyards.
Teach Us, Mentor Us, & Equip Us
Jesus showed us this when he chose 12 disciples who would go on to impact the world. Imagine if the Church did the same. If individual churches could impact just one Deaf person in their backyard,that one Deaf person could go on to impact millions of other Deaf people in their community with the Gospel.
No longer are we, Deaf people, content with the statistics still being that 98% of people who don’t know Christ. We are no longer content with the average Deaf church and ministry only having 10 members. We are no longer content with the struggle to find new Deaf leaders.
So, Dear Church, come alongside us. Teach us, mentor us, and equip us.