While a true Deaf ministry is Deaf-led, we also acknowledge that interpreters are a critical part of Deaf ministry. Interpreting is a ministry of necessity. Interpreters who minister to Deaf individuals are like missionaries. You have learned a new language, immersing yourself in a new culture. While the comforts of home are not sacrificed, we are well aware of the sacrifices interpreters do make, sacrifices of your time and energy. To you, we say THANK YOU!
You are the major link between the Deaf and hearing worlds. Not only do you have this heavy responsibility, but you also have a mandate from God to share His infinite love and life-changing message.
Please note that a Deaf ministry that includes interpreters does not merely mean a sermon translated into ASL. Bob Ayres makes a very valid and sobering point in his book, Deaf Diaspora, "Most hearing churches do not have a Deaf ministry even those with sign language interpreters. There is a huge difference between ministry and providing interpreted services. Ministry involves relationships and investing one's life into another person. Providing interpreted worship services is important but is no substitute for authentic Deaf worship and consistent relational ministry" (p. 35). This statement is important to remember as you serve the Deaf.
We know that oftentimes the interpreter is the sole person working in Deaf ministry and we want to change that. Everyone at church has something they can do in this ministry. Click on this link for some ideas to share with your church. If you are an interpreter, please contact us! We want to be in touch with you. Email Esther Doss.
The below information might be helpful to you: