web analytics
Skip to main content

“Does your church have a deaf ministry?” The ministry leader answered, “If a Deaf person shows up, we have someone who can do that.” Much to many people’s surprise, the deaf ministry is much more than providing an interpreter. How do I know? I’ve been involved in deaf ministry for nearly 48 years. My wife, Diane, and I have started deaf ministries all over the USA and have spoken to Deaf groups in foreign countries. We have taught Deaf Bible studies, interpreted in many situations, trained deaf ministry leaders, and led Deaf activities.

How to Develop a Deaf Ministry

Understand the Need – The first step is realizing the importance of a Deaf ministry. Deaf people have a limited number of churches from which to choose. If there is not a Bible-based deaf ministry in your area, Deaf people may be isolated from the Gospel. If another good deaf church or deaf ministry is in your area, consider supporting and encouraging that ministry.

Pray – Ask the Lord for guidance and for the right people to serve in the deaf ministry. Pray for the Deaf community you will serve. Share your vision with the church and seek their support of this missionary ministry.

Build a Team – Someone in your church may already have some sign language skill. They can help train others. Encourage your team to become as skilled as possible in sign language. Some people on your team may never learn sign language, but can help in other areas.

Training Teach your church how to welcome Deaf people into the church. Teach them about the challenges Deaf people face. Begin an ASL (American Sign Language) class to train church members and those who will volunteer in the deaf ministry.

Involve Deaf People – Qualified Deaf individuals can serve in church, assist with tasks or ministries, and help plan or lead the ministry. As Deaf people serve in the church and Deaf ministry, the overall ministry can become more effective.

Deaf Bible Class – Along with interpreting, a separate class can help Deaf people grow and learn the Bible more easily. This class is key to a strong deaf ministry. Lessons should be taught in sign language and prepared to be clearly understood for individual needs of the group.

Outreach – Connecting with Deaf people is a must! Attend Deaf events and Deaf socials. Make friends and build relationships. Share this newspaper or other deaf ministry materials with the people you meet. Invite and welcome Deaf people to your church.

Advertise – Include the deaf ministry on your church website and in social media posts. Post special church Deaf events or interpreted events on local meet-up websites and in your local newspaper. Post fliers in local businesses as they allow.

Continuing Education – Additional training and development opportunities are vital for the deaf ministry team. Attend SWM’s ASL Institute, Fantastic Saturday and other deaf ministry workshops and conferences. Always seek to improve!

Set Goals – The deaf ministry should not depend on only one or two people. Also, even though someone is a good interpreter, they may need a gifted leader to help organize and plan the ministry. Develop a church-wide understanding of, and vision to sustain the deaf ministry. The church can include the deaf ministry in the budget to provide study materials, transportation, and equipment. Offer to teach a few signs each week in children or youth classes. Also teach about Deaf culture and the communication challenges faced by Deaf people. Set numeric, education and training goals for the deaf ministry. Help the church commit to a long-term deaf ministry.

SWM is Here to Help – View resources:
SilentWord.org/Store (Literature)
SignTheBible.com (Bible classes in ASL)
SilentWord.VHX.TV (ASL training – NEW)

Idea: Pastors, invite a SWM missionary for even a single service to help your church gain a greater vision for the Deaf world.

“All the world” includes Deaf people. A Deaf ministry helps fulfill the Great Commission in your local area. Even Deaf need to “hear” (see) the Gospel at least one time. Let us help you reach Deaf for Christ (2 Pet 3:18). Contact Jon by clicking here.

Leave a Reply