Deaf preachers

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Askjo, Jun 11, 2003.

  1. Askjo

    Askjo
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    I interviewed a few hearing pastors without their experience about the deaf ministry. I asked them, "Will you hire a deaf preacher under your ministry?" I mean a paid full-time preacher. I learned they are "cold" toward deaf ministry. One hearing pastor told me that he experienced the deaf ministry before. He would hire a deaf preacher under his ministry, but he supports a deaf ministry separating his hearing ministry in his church. Strange!!! Most hearing pastors hired preachers for Seniors, children, youth and others, BUT they refuse to hire Deaf preachers. Let me ask you WHY? My good friend, a deaf preacher (went with the Lord)told me that he preached at his church in Wash.D.C. When he slept in middle of AM before the sun rises, someone from the central near Midwest called him and he woke up and answered the phone (TDD). It was emergency. He called many deaf members in that AM. They gave him money to fly there. Why did he fly there? The reason is that he won the lost soul to Christ. Another story about a deaf preacher whom I know very well is incredibile. This preacher went to OK City, OK from GA. He was ready to preach there because it is the REVIVAL. Someone called him about a deaf man in home nursery. This preacher notified a deaf OK preacher to delay the different time on same day. Someone brought the GA preacher and drove there for 2 hours to arrive a home nursery. He visited an old deaf man lying on the bed and won his lost soul to Jesus. He told me that many hearing preachers did not witness to this deaf sick man. NO ONE! After this and the revival this GA preacher went back home in GA. Two weeks later he got a letter from OK and found out 71 years old deaf man went with the Lord. Let me ask you Why did many hearing preachers NOT witness to DEAF people about Jesus? Or do they smell the green paper by just preaching?
     
  2. Dr. Bob

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    How many staff members must a church have before they should consider a "deaf" pastor?

    I'm thinking . .
    Senior Pastor
    Assoc. Pastor (in general church functions)
    Assist. Pastor to help
    Youth Pastor Teens/College
    Youth Pastor Children
    Sr. Citizen Pastor
    Christian Education Pastor
    Calling/Hospital Pastor
    Counseling Pastor

    then

    Deaf Pastor

    Just crunching numbers and thinking out loud, but the number of deaf in a church would fall far below almost every other demographic.

    What's your thinking here?
     
  3. stubbornkelly

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    You know, I was just listening to a story the other day about how few parents can even speak to their deaf children. Makes one wonder how many deaf people even get to hear the gospel in the first place. Perhaps if that were made into a bigger issue, the demographic would increase.

    And I further wonder about how we categorize "deaf preachers." It's very easy to compartmentalize and say that a preacher who is deaf is only useful to other deaf people and could not possible pastor a hearing church. Now, I've only had two friends who were deaf, and neither from birth, but both could converse with hearing people with few problems - both could speak and read lips incredibly well. I see no reason such a person should be eliminated from consideration as a full time pastor of a hearing congregation.
     
  4. tyndale1946

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    Time for the expert here!... First of all to give you my background... I'm the father of two children... One hearing impaired a daughter Faith 25 and one Deaf a son Travis 22! I also do know sign language... American Sign Language or ASL as it is called but I have to bone up as I'm a little rusty.

    If you have a Deaf Preacher your first problem would be for the hearing congregation someone to vebalize what the preacher is saying. Actually there is no difference I can see from one who is interpreting from Spanish to English or any foreign language. You will need an interpreter as this is an unknown tongue. Let me make one thing clear ASL is a language and it has grammar and structure just like any other language.

    You think it is easy just to hire a Deaf Minister for a Deaf Ministry but it doesn't work that way. You are not only going to hire a Deaf Minister but you are hiring also a Deaf Lifestyle as the deaf have a culture all their own. That is why I feel that deaf people are uncomfortable in churches where hearing people are and would rather be among their own kind. A Deaf Church for the deaf but I know that is the ideal and the ideal doesn't exist.

    I think what would be good in a church is to teach the hearing congregation about their deaf bothers and sisters in the Lord. If you are going to fellowship with the deaf you should get to know them as I'm sure they want to get to know you and tell you about the deaf culture. It would be the same for any language and the culture of that language... America is the big melting pot of the world and we are the compilation of many languages.

    I think it all hinges on the fear of the unknown but I would like to interject this thought... Other religions not Baptist make sure the deaf know their doctrine... JW's I know for sure do as my Son use to go to Kingdom Hall... The Baptist were not interested in him and dropped the ball... I'm sure the Mormons also make alocations for the deaf as do others... What is wrong with us?... We better be up and about the Fathers business as others not Baptist know just how to take care of our Deaf children. I speak from experience as very few on here can and know of where I speak... I know a lot about the Deaf and Hearing Impaired!... I have to!... Brother Glen [​IMG]
     
  5. dianetavegia

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    We have 973 members as of Sunday. We have, within the last few months, hired a Hispanic Minister. His Sunday School (adult class) has an average of 11 members each Sunday. The Hispanic children are all fluent in English and attend class with their school friends.

    If we had a dozen deaf members, I feel sure we'd find someway to minister to them also. We have several families (trying to say this politely so forgive me in advance) who are all mentally challenged. We have a special Sunday School class taught by Special Ed teachers for these people. Two middle aged brothers are assigned 'friends' who sit with them during service and help them find songs in the hymnals and sometimes to remind them to not talk loudly during preaching. I 'watched over' one middle aged lady for almost a year but my main goal was to keep her from begging for money from everyone who passed her.

    I would only consider a deaf minister necessary if there were a need... but would first think of an interpreter.

    Bro. Glen and I have spoken before about the need for more people to learn ASL and how I believe ASL should be accepted as a second language for college requirements.

    Diane Tavegia
     
  6. tyndale1946

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    Diane... Here is an observation for what it is worth... Jesus was drawn to lepers but isn't it sad that those who call themselves children of God want to withdraw from the lepers in our society... Not all children of God mind you as your story illustrates but some of God children think they are better that others!... Some are visible lepers other are lepers of their mind, heart and soul... The latter is dangerous!... For what it is worth!... Brother Glen [​IMG]

    [ June 12, 2003, 04:00 PM: Message edited by: tyndale1946 ]
     
  7. Askjo

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    Why are hearing preachers and deaf preacher not equal?

    how many deaf people in the city where you live? Let me give you the facts of deaf ministry.

    How many deaf people reside in Chicago? I know one deaf preacher who had 300 deaf members under Jack Hyles' church.

    How many deaf people live in Indianapolis? Approx. 4,000 deaf Hoosiers! A church has deaf chapel -- 250 Deaf.

    How many deaf people live in Wash. D.C.? Too many deaf go to a Deaf World University, namely Galladuet University. I know a deaf preacher who has about 100 Deaf.

    In Ringgold, Ga a deaf preacher has over 100 Deaf from Chatttaggoo, Tenn.

    Many deaf preachers know how to reach the Deaf!
     
  8. tyndale1946

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    I feel that Deaf Preachers should preach to the Deaf... I feel if a hearing preacher although he signed his sermon or someone signed the sermon he was preaching he would still be a hearing preacher... preaching to a Deaf Congregation.

    Even though he means well he is still a hearing preacher... preaching to a Deaf congregation and the deaf definately know the difference... And there is definately a difference even when you don't think there is... The Deaf know there is just ask them!... Brother Glen [​IMG]
     
  9. Dr. Bob

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    Don't recall saying it. Just saying the logistics of a church of 1000 would have about 10 groups for specialized pastors LARGER than the typical need for a deaf pastor.

    In my church in the past we had a deaf ministry (ASL). I preached. I was the pastor. We had 10+ deaf that came and messages signed to them. When we got large enough for an assistant pastor, we did NOT look for one to minister to less than 5% of the people. We got one in education to minister to ALL 100%.

    That's the only point I'm making. Don't make it into something it isn't.
     
  10. Askjo

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    A few states have oral school without using sign languages. I know 2 deaf people who can readlip and use oral communication without sign language (ASL). One of them explain to me that she know nothing about sign language because her hearing parents forced her to use oral talk and readlip.

    Most deaf people were serious ill to cause their deafness. Some deaf were born to be deaf because of history of generations.
     
  11. Askjo

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    Most churches do not have Deaf preachers but they have their interpreters for the deaf. I studied the differences between interpreters and a deaf preachers. I learned that a deaf preacher could have up to 300 deaf people in a hearing church or a deaf church, and these interpreters for the Deaf could have up to 25 deaf in hearing church. I was in Minnesota and went to a church. This hearing church has its interpreter for 10 Deaf people. I went to Ohio and visited my former girlfriend. I visited her church having a male interpreter for 15 Deaf. This male interpreter surrendered to be a full time pastor to the Deaf. He had about 80 deaf in a deaf church in a few years later. This man went with the Lord 2 years ago. See the difference them upon how many Deaf are going to their church.

    Deaf Baptist Fellowship of America will be held in Grand Rapids, Michigan on June 16-20, 2003. How many Deaf will go there? About 500 deaf people. Another national Deaf Baptist Conference in Fla had more than 1,000 Deaf last year so I think.

    A seculiar Deaf annual conference (not religion...like organization, business, education, empolyment and others) had 200,000 Deaf people in Indianapolis in a few years ago. See here!
     
  12. Askjo

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    Many deaf people are in a hearing world daily. However many hearing people are in Deaf world -- almost never! You are right that Deaf people are not comfortable there. How many hearing people are in Deaf Sunday School and Deaf worship? Deaf people have to go in hearing worship where interpreters will interpret for them -- DAILY! In the Deaf world these Deaf need a deaf church or a deaf preacher in a hearing church because of their Deaf culture.

    Absolutely!

    Ask your children about the Deaf culture and church.
     
  13. Askjo

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    Exactly! Tell me why you feel that?

    Yes, many hearing preachers love the Deaf and use ASL to preach to them. [​IMG]
     
  14. tyndale1946

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    I'm one of few parents you will ever meet who studied Deaf Culture... Why do I need my children to tell me about it?... I learned it from being around Deaf People who were the friends of my children. I also took a course in college on Deaf Culture but I really learned it being around the deaf friends of my children and their deaf activities.

    I feel a Deaf Preacher should speak to a Deaf Congregation as he understands the Deaf being Deaf himself. A hearing preacher may preach to the deaf but he has not walked in their shoes. A hearing preachers who parents are deaf I can understand as they are subject to the Deaf Community and are ingrained in the deaf culture but a hearing preacher who knows ASL... He is still a hearing preacher who knows ASL... There is definately a difference... Are you Deaf yourself?... Just wondering as you can certainly see the dilemma... He will never be accepted in the deaf culture and you should know that. Being the hearing parent of two deaf children I know that and you should too... He will always be outside looking in... He is a hearie no matter whether he is a preacher or not!... That is the way I see it!... Brother Glen [​IMG]

    [ June 13, 2003, 03:23 AM: Message edited by: tyndale1946 ]
     
  15. Dr. Bob

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    Interesting observations and insights, Glenn and Askjo. You've challenged and broadened my thinking.

    I am NOT deaf (tho losing hearing and often wear hearing aids) and guess I can't relate.

    (I am not a woman either, but preach to them. And not a senior, but preach to them. And not a teen, but preach to them. And not hispanic, but preach to them. Still see some inconsistencies in the debate here . . . )
     
  16. Jim1999

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    We had a football player in Toronto who gave his life to setting up and pastoring a church for the deaf in Toronto. Robert Rumble was not deaf, yet he took on this burden and led the way for this great ministry. He learned sign language and he learned how to make music live for the hearing impaired. Whilst many could not hear the music, they could feel vibrations through their bodies and he used this sensation in worship services.

    We can learn, so Robert Rumble proved, without suffering the same ailment. It just takes heart.

    God bless those who minister in all the pastures of God's people and not just the lush fields.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  17. Askjo

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    Do you still learn about the Deaf Culture? Completely? Do you still not understand the Deaf world? The fact is that most Deaf do NOT understand the Hearing World because they can't hear anything like making a noise that a hearing person tries to stop a deaf noisemaker. A hearing people do NOT understand the Deaf World because they ignore what a Deaf needs like TDD that hearing parents said "no" to deaf for phone to communicate with other deaf friends or relatives. Some Deaf people feel that hearing parents put deaf in "Slave" lifestyle. That's why a hearing preacher and a deaf preacher are not equal.

    A deaf person understands a deaf person in their deaf world. You are right. A hearing person understands a hearing person in the hearing world. A deaf person can't understand a hearing person in hearing world where most deaf people reside.

    In sport, for example, I never experience playing any sport. Should I be a coach for pro basketball players? What would you think of what these pro players think of me as their "naive" coach? I would say that I can't understand the "sport" world.

    English is my second language because my native tongue is ASL. Do you know what I mean?
     
  18. Askjo

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    Interesting and neat!! You mean a "pro" football player Robert Rumble?
     
  19. Helen

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    I'd like to add a little here. I have had extensive time with the deaf, know ASL, have worked as a paid interpreter, and have taught the hearing children of deaf parents and the deaf children of hearing parents. I interpreted in a very cooperative church for some time (about three years as I recall).

    First of all, there is a deaf culture which is totally distinct from ANY hearing culture. This is not a choice, but a necessity. Culture comes through language, and the only language the deaf have is their own -- almost always. Even lipreading is fraught with hazards. "Big" and "pig" lipread exactly the same way. So "dare" and "tear" (as in 'rip'). As a result, no matter how proficient the incredible few profoundly deaf (from birth or before language acquisition) are in English, some version of sign language is, by necessity, their primary language.

    And so it is not the same as preaching to women if you are a man, or to children if you are an adult, or to English-as-a-second-language hearing folk if you are a native English speaker. All these are MUCH more possible than a hearing person communicating abstract thoughts, such as in theology, with a deaf person.

    Example: We know that Jesus and Christ are the same person. A deaf person must be told that, or there is a real chance (and this has happened) that it will be assumed that two different people are being talked about. This is just the slightest example of a road full of hazards which exist in ministering or interpreting to/for the deaf.

    I have led deaf women's Bible studies on and off for years. There was a very funny, but sort of sad, thing that happened about ten years ago with my first Bible study that I led. There were four deaf women and me and we met in my home weekly. When we got to some passages of Scripture where I knew that different ideas were held by different people regarding the meaning, I would try to explain the different ideas people had. Then, I would sign something along the lines of "My opinion, maybe first way I explain right." And then I would explain why I held that opinion and tell them that if they disagreed with me, no problem.

    About six months later, my best friend who is deaf and was part of the study confronted me with "why tell your opinion? Why make up story?"

    It took about fifteen minutes with her for me to realize that in this group of people in this part of California, "opinion" was, to them, something made up, like a fantasy. They could not figure why I would be telling them fantasy stories about the Bible, and it upset them.

    If Heloise had not had the courage to tell me, I never would have known.

    Most interpreters, certified or not, are clueless about certain localized usages of signs. I was taught sign language by Heloise, a lady totally deaf from birth. So I learned from the deaf and with the deaf.

    And I still made horrid errors!

    In addition, signing a sermon or anything which requires great concentration, is not like simply translation from one hearing language to another. It is waiting long enough to get the entire sentence or two, and then setting it up in picture form so that it is comprehensible by way of meaning for the deaf. This requires something called a 'lag time,' or the time between when you hear the words and when you have enough down to do the interpreting. Meanwhile you have to keep listening. It is often exhausting and professional interpreters in critical situations, such as a courtroom, often have to be replaced at 20 minute intervals. Just chatting with a deaf person is different, and I can go for hours, but actual interpreting is very hard, so there must be at least two people in any given church who work together. There should be more, as illness and such can take one away temporarily.

    Today, in Sacramento, there is an all-deaf church. They finally did it for themselves, and I am really proud of them. One of my deaf friends will come home occasionally with a question and we will look it up together, Barry helping with Concordances, other translations, commentaries, etc. -- just so it is not just 'our' opinion! The pastor is a hearing man, but he has been working with the deaf for so many years now that I don't think anyone questions his abilities there.

    There is a visiting deaf pastor, a man from Kentucky whose hearing daughter I taught for awhile when they lived out here.

    What I have noticed is that it takes the deaf a few times longer to grasp esoteric concepts than it does a hearing person. It's not their fault. It is just so difficult to get a full concept across when there is no action/reaction involved.

    Two last things come to mind. First, very VERY few congregations have enough deaf involved for an actual deaf ministry. Where I interpreted on a regular basis only had about 5-7 at any given time. I know John McArthur's church had a deaf ministry, and maybe still does, but I know the man and his wife (deaf man married to a hearing lady) who were deeply involved and they had to pull out because of both the pressure involved as well as the fact that the hearing people seem to feel that the deaf people need to be babysat and told what to do. They really resent that. They are adults, after all.

    However, this does lead to the other side of the problem. They are adults, but not only are their experience and education often quite limited, a number of times deafness is accompanied by other problems -- some of them mental.

    So it's just downright hard.

    It's true that a lot of parents don't bother learning how to communicate effectively with their deaf children. That is another problem that comes to mind: most families with deaf members have both hearing and deaf in the family group. Which church? Two different churches? No church? A poor interpreter?

    If there are deaf people in your area, and there probably are, take the time to get to know who they are and how BEST they can be served. Not just what you would like to do because it fits your skills, but what is best for them. It takes time, enormous patience and humility, and consistency.

    They are used to being approached by eager signers-to-be and then dropped. They are used to being misunderstood. They are used to being left out of our world. They are even used to being betrayed in a variety of ways.

    I have gone through a couple of times of burn-out, because it is exhausting and time-consuming. God bless my deaf friends who understood and allowed me to resume the close friendships when I was ready again. I have learned to pace myself a little more now, but that, too, was hard to learn in this particular area of my life.

    It's hard.

    It's worth it.
     
  20. Jim1999

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    Helen, what you say is so true. In one church, where we had a deaf couple, I actually had to trim my moustache and beard around my mouth to make it easier for them to read my lips. Just these little things make a huge difference. God bless those who take the time and make the effort.

    There are some sunshiny hearts in that other world.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     

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