Two reasons why Deaf statistics don’t always match

By August 29, 2023

International (MNN) — When working on a task with multiple people, everyone needs the same basic information. For example, classmates working on a group project must know when the assignment is due and what each section requires.

The same principle applies to ministry. However, information varies widely right now concerning the spiritual needs of Deaf communities.

DOOR International President/CEO Rob Myers describes two common assumptions leading ministries to publish numbers that don’t match reality.

First, “people often assume they (Deaf people) can see, so they should be able to read; they should have access to written language,” Myers explains.

However, deafness is the “only disability that cuts [people born deaf] off from the language and communication of their family. As a result, Deaf people become part of their own language group and form their own culture,” Myers continues.

“That’s why databases must pull Deaf communities out as a separate language group because their needs are very different from the Hearing communities around them.”

Misapplying general statistics to the Deaf community is another frequent practice.

“For instance, you might see that 92 percent of people in Angola identify as Christians,” Myers describes as an example.

“[Data producers] would say that 92 percent of deaf people in Angola identify as Christians, but that is wrong. The percentage of Deaf Christians in Angola is less than one percent.”

(Graphic courtesy of DOOR International)

See a list of common assumptions about Deaf communities and the correlating facts here.

A handful of Deaf ministries, including DOOR, are launching a database to streamline information and accurately assess needs in Deaf communities. More about that here. Pray their efforts will be successful.

“If we look up ‘Where are the most unreached people groups?’ and Deaf communities aren’t included in those lists, then we’ve missed some of the most needed areas of the Great Commission,” Myers says.

“It’s important that we empower the Church with good information so they can follow Jesus’s commands to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth.”



Header and story images courtesy of DOOR International.

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