International (MNN) — Exact statistics are hard to come by, but most ministries working among the Deaf agree that 98 percent of the world’s 70 million Deaf people are “unreached” — people who’ve never encountered the Good News of Jesus.
Information like this from Finishing the Task reveals yet another troubling fact. Many unreached Deaf people groups are also “unengaged,” which means no believers are currently trying to reach them for Christ.
Regardless, hope remains for the Deaf. DOOR International president and CEO Rob Myers says God’s Spirit is actively moving among this global people group.
“There are a couple of really exciting things that we’re seeing, and a couple of areas that we really encourage people to be praying about and thinking through,” he states.
DOOR unveils the details of that movement in a new report. Click here for details.
Sign language Bible translation
DOOR’s Deaf leaders and on-the-ground workers focus their efforts in two critical areas: sign language Bible translation and Deaf-led church planting. Learn why the Deaf require different Bible translation and ministry methods.
Over the past year, Myers recounts, God tremendously blessed DOOR’s translation efforts. Deaf teams made significant progress on Chronological Bible Translations (CBTs) in seven sign languages, and 15 consultants-in-training graduated from their multi-year internships.
The Lord also raised up several new Christian groups working in sign language Bible translation. Less than 30 of the world’s 350-plus sign languages currently have any published Scripture. “Many hands make light work,” the old saying goes, and the principle holds true in Deaf ministry. Myers says groups are working together to start translation work in more sign languages.
“There are about 50 projects that are in the works… and DOOR is [involved in] 16 of those.”
This progress is significant, but challenges remain in DOOR’s other sphere of influence: Deaf-led church planting and evangelism.
Deaf-to-Deaf church planting
Deaf believers are the best people to reach the unreached Deaf communities described earlier. However, due to a lack of resources, Deaf Christians have almost no access to God’s Word. Deaf-friendly training in evangelism, discipleship, church planting, and leadership development is even rarer.
DOOR seeks to remedy this by recruiting and training pairs of Deaf leaders (an evangelist and a teacher) through what it calls a “2-by-2 Program.”
Myers says they have over 45 pairs of 2-by-2 teams working in “about 20 different sign language communities, [or] 20 different people groups. But, there are over 350, and so the task is much greater than even one organization can handle.
“The need is very, very great.”
Now that you know, what will you do? Prayer is a great place to start.
Praise God for the ways His Kingdom is advancing among the Deaf. Pray for Deaf ministries like DOOR and others who are striving to reach Deaf for Christ. Ask the Lord to bless their efforts, and to raise up Gospel workers who have the skills they need.
“When you have unreached people groups who’ve been cut off from the Gospel for thousands of years, there is a huge spiritual barrier that needs to be overcome.”
If you’re Deaf or fluent in a sign language and interested in serving a Deaf ministry, Myers asks that you contact DOOR directly. Visit DOOR’s website to fill out a form – located under the “More Information” tab – or call (616) 741-7200.
“We could either look at potentially connecting them into [our] ongoing ministry… or helping them connect with another partner Deaf ministry.”
Header and story images courtesy of DOOR International.