“We’ve always done it that way.”

This is a saying that we often hear, but it is something that tells me that a ministry is either dying or simply coasting. Coasting is normally not uphill, but downhill! I want to encourage you to look at your Deaf ministry with a fresh look. What could be done differently so that more Deaf people could be reached with the Gospel? Let me offer a few suggestions. First, remember that Deaf people are extremely visual. They see things and details that Hearing people normally overlook. When you are printing something for them to have in their hand, make sure it is visually appealing. If you are using PowerPoint, or a visual illustration, make sure it is sharp! Second, when you are dependent upon your eyes to take in information, it is very taxing physically. Don’t make your teaching times too long, or the Deaf you are trying to reach will experience a natural tendency to become drowsy. Make your teaching times a bit shorter than you normally would. Mix in times of interaction among the people in your class. This will offer them some variety and will help keep their attention much better. Third, remember that while Hearing people are stimulated by big words with multiple meanings, these mean nothing to the Deaf. However, being a bit creative with how you Sign something that can draw them into the deeper meaning of the word that is being used in the lesson or message. Don’t become lazy and give a generic Sign for a word that does not mean what the normal Sign means. Do your homework and find out what the word really means so you can interpret it accurately for the Deaf. If you need to, ask Deaf after the lesson if they understood it clearly. Make sure they understand. Re-teach those words you know they might have missed. If they did not understand, take the time to discuss the best way to Sign the concept with them. The Deaf are great teachers … if you allow them to have a part. I hope these are helpful hints.

The Silent Word

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