The Need for True Christian Interpreters

Interpreters should truly love Jesus and be committed to Him. This is a ministry, not some sort of occupational, educational or social work. The end goal is not to just provide an interpreted service, but a true ministry. Dedicate your heart first, and then God will use your hands.

Have the right motive. Why are you interpreting? Are you motivated due to selfish reasons? Looking at our motives may be uncomfortable, but critical. Deaf ministry needs us to keep our motives in check.

Some interpret worship services as a way to practice signing. This should not be done, unless the Deaf member/visitor insists. A few others interpret due to the novelty of ASL. Are you interpreting without knowing the needs or culture of Deaf people?

Often times, interpreters enjoy the attention they receive when they interpret. Interpreters are quite visible and do receive many praises. How tempting for one to enjoy receiving this attention and hearing about the wonderful things he/she are doing. When given praise, give God the glory.

Remember, if interpreters have wrong or impure motives, the Deaf are the ones who suffer. You must accept the responsibility of interpreting exactly as you would any other position in the church, humbly and as a servant for the Lord. You may have to pray that God keep you humble.

In her book, A Guide to Deaf Ministry, DeAnn Sampley wrote, "A servant's heart is required for working with Deaf people. The needs of those served are more important than the servant's need for approval and praise. The hopes of many Deaf people have been shattered time and again by a new sign language student who wants to interpret for them, have a Bible study with them, or establish a friendship - only to lose commitment or interest later on. Please, before making a commitment to a Deaf friend, make certain your motive is one that God will honor" (page 43).

Christian interpreters should become friends with Deaf people. For some very isolated Deaf members, interpreters may be the only ones they can communicate with. Sometimes even a Deaf person's family does not know sign language. The Deaf world can be a lonely world. One of the greatest needs is to have good friends.

Christian interpreters are needed to help the Deaf spiritually. The number one priority is explaining, interpreting and giving full understanding of the Word of God. Remember, your opinions mean nothing. It is the Word of God that changes people.

Give you heart, your mind, and your hands to God so that He can use you. Pray for God's help and you will find that God will guide your hands. God will use you in a special way if you are committed to Him.