Broadening Your Witness: Remembering the Deaf in Ministry
By Daniel Wohlberg
Have you ever imagined what a church service would be like for a Deaf individual? Think of all the elements that go into worship: audible music, prayer with heads bowed and eyes closed, a spoken message.
“We can’t fulfill the Great Commission if we forget the Deaf,” states Marshall Lawrence, executive director of Silent Blessings, a ministry to Deaf and hard-of-hearing children and families. In America, there are an estimated six million Deaf individuals; hearing loss affects one out of every four families. Less than 2 percent of Deaf people profess Christ as Savior, and fewer than 4 percent of churches have braved this mission field with ministries for the Deaf.
Why are there so few professing Christians in the Deaf community? Imagine being a young deaf child visiting your church. How would you communicate the love of Jesus when you can’t use your voice to speak the word of God—and you do not speak American Sign Language? Is your church equipped with resources to share the personal hope that Christ extends to them?
Silent Blessings—a freestanding ministry of the Church of God—is offering beginner ASL classes this year at their office location in the basement of the Church of God Ministries building (directly across the hall from Children of Promise). The classes will be taught by a certified interpreter, Shayla Riggs, and will be available to everyone ages seven and older (children under twelve must be accompanied by an adult). The sessions will run again on both Tuesday and Wednesday, from 1:00 to 2:30 PM. Something new will be offered every day.