Some may think the average local church is doing a great job in reaching out to Deaf people, both in bringing them to Christ and nurturing them as they grow in their walk with Him. However, 96 out of 100 Deaf people in North America do not claim to have a relationship with Christ.
There are many reasons why a Deaf person does not attend church. The Deaf often find the local church unfulfilling and frustrating. Due to communication barriers, Deaf people can often feel more lonely in a room full of people than when all alone. It's as if they are in a glass box, able to see what happens around them, but without hearing what is said and unable to interact with those on the outside. Most churches do not have interpreters, so Deaf people are left to themselves as they sit in a silent world surrounded by those praising God and studying God's Word. Fortunately, some churches DO have interpreters. Keep in mind, though, that many things are often lost in translation, even if the interpreters are excellent. Generally speaking, Deaf people prefer to attend church where the services are conducted in their own language and where they can enjoy Christian fellowship with other Deaf believers. These churches and groups are few and far between.
Communication barriers can create marginalization, the lack of equal access, isolation, the lack of necessary denominational workers, and misunderstandings about the Deaf in the church. Also, Deaf people, especially church members are scattered widely across the country.
Much of the attempts in reaching the masses leave the Deaf community out in the dark. It goes without saying that Deaf people can't hear radio programming or presentations on CDs. Most spiritual programs on television and satellite networks are not captioned. Plus, publications are a challenge to read for the many Deaf for whom English is more of a second language. Evangelistic meetings and church services are often not interpreted either. So, the question is, how are the Deaf in our very midst being reached?
Three Angels Deaf Ministries has taken up the challenge of sharing God's messages of love and hope with the Deaf, addressing the special needs for Deaf church members and reaching out to Deaf people in the community.