“I wish my Deaf Adult children were in church.”
Spend enough time with most Christian parents over 65, and they’ll say one of two things:
“I’m so thankful my kids are in church.”
“I really wish I could get my kids in church.”
It’s almost a mantra, born of a time when church attendance was the societal norm and deviations made people, well, “deviants.” If you’re concerned that your Deaf Adult children are skipping that whole Sunday-go-to-meetin’ paradigm, we hope to encourage you with these insights.
First, the Millennial generation shares a perspective that weekly gatherings in dedicated buildings is not what Jesus had in mind for primary expressions of faith and service. We in the older generation know that it is this commitment to community that gets us through the unavoidable tough times and encourages us to grow in scriptural directions we might otherwise be avoiding. But, Millenials also have a point…there is a need for sacrificial compassion and personal outreach that many congregations of “settled saints” have set aside in the quest to remain clean in an unclean world.
To make things worse, they’re Deaf. So, unless they’re in a congregation that uses sign language heavily, deaf people miss out on the community aspect that regular church attendance/participation is supposed to provide. Too often, deaf people in hearing churches are very lonely and isolated, even when surrounded by people who love them. Church becomes another place to bring manners and coping skills, making it much easier to just stay home. A qualified interpreter is a good start (and quite rare), yet the sense of community is lost if the interpreter is the only person they can communicate freely with.
Now – for the good news (yes, there is some!)… Silent Blessings, Deaf Missions, DOOR and Deaf Harbor are developing video resources in ASL, all available online, most available on DVDs or USB drives. Deaf Bible Society is developing apps to deliver these videos to smart phones and tablets. The ASLV Bible Translation (NT and nearly half of OT), a growing collection of key Bible stories with discussion questions, and Daily Devotions are available through apps. Soon we expect to announce an app for Dr. Wonder’s Workshop, the unique TV show that has touched lives of all ages around the world. Right now, all of our episodes are available online or on DVDs through www.DrWonder.com. All of these resources are designed by deaf people for deaf people, so that everyone can get the gospel in their heart language, understand it clearly, apply it accurately, and live it daily. This is what Jesus meant by “Go and make disciples.”
Much has been done, and there’s much left to do. God has given each of our ministries a distinct focus and the privilege of working together to reach deaf people worldwide. Silent Blessings Deaf Ministries exists to develop resources that introduce deaf children to Jesus. We appreciate your prayers and financial support so that more parents can say,
“I’m so thankful my deaf kids have a vibrant relationship with Jesus.”