Last Sunday I had the wonderful privilege of presenting my ministry at a Deaf church. Though I have presented in Deaf ministries (Sunday schools) before, this was the first all-Deaf church I have been invited to share my ministry goals with.
Join me for a moment, and imagine:
-No piano (or any instruments)
-No sound system or microphones
-The pastor must stop preaching for a while after announcing a Bible verse, since people can't read and listen at the same time
-During the invitation you have to "peek" every once in a while to see if the closing hymn has started
-The children's classes are separated from the adult classes by 5 ft office cubical walls, as a sound barrier is no concern
-and... when the back door opens and slams in the middle of the service, no one jumps, or turns to look (except me!).
Also, I noticed everyone was very focused on the message and careful to catch every word. (In sign language, if you miss one word, you can be lost for the next few sentences).
(Deaf Pastor closing the service with a signed "Amen")
Most Deaf groups I've experienced have had a very broad range of education levels, and, though this church was no different, it's location near Gallaudet University - the only university primarily for Deaf people in the world - meant an unusually high percentage of the Deaf members had Bachelors Degrees or higher. It also meant there were Deaf people there from all over the world... I met Deaf Korean, French, Ghanan, Italian, and West Virginian! (Different country, right?)
It was a delightful, encouraging time, and 2 hours after the service several Deaf members were still asking me lots of questions about reaching the Deaf in Honduras. What a blessing to share my passion with these enthusiastic Christians!