Deaf Ministry 401b: Deaf Leadership

continuing the questions that are asked about this topic from outside people….

4) Are interpreters qualifed to be in “Deaf Leadership” roles?

Without showing favor or dismissing anyone…let me first say and remind you…Deaf learn best from Deaf. That is plain and simple. It is also a proven fact statistically. Some Deaf learn well from hearing people, that is great. I, myself, learn well from both. I have learned things from hearing people that Deaf maybe never will teach. I have also learned things from Deaf people that hearing could never illustrate or match in the teaching methods.  So in answering that question…I would have to say, it really depends on the ministry. It depends on the group that is being ministered to. One of the biggest struggles that I have had in Deaf Ministry is that we have a diversified group of Deaf with some who were mainstreamed Deaf, some who were graduates of Deaf institutes schools, and some who know sign language well, and some who depend on both sign and reading lips.  Can an interpreter qualify as a person to help a person who is fully immersed in Deaf culture…chances are not always great.  Now..I can honestly tell you that an interpreter on a “Deaf Leadership Team” is a great asset, yes. It is always good to get feedback from anyone who is serving in the ministry. But overall…a Deaf person needs to be in that leadership role. If no Deaf are available, then the interpreter can operate as a “interim” until God leads someone to fill that role.

5) Related to #4, what about socials, classes, Bible-studies, etc…should Deaf only teach that?

Again…this is a very important lesson for everyone to absorb….Deaf learn best from Deaf.  From my experience, I have been in hearing classes with interpreting. And honestly, it doesn’t stick.  The long minutes of having to focus on a lesson being interpreted does hard time on a Deaf person’s body if the same movement or the same stance is held throughout the whole class. With Deaf teachers and leaders taking over the class….you have the opportunity to learn illustrations, pictures, and new ideas. The teacher is signing while they are moving from one place to another. (It helps so that people don’t fall asleep, smile)  Now if you have a well trained interpreter who teaches classes from time to time, I see no problem with that but then again, it is always best for Deaf to teach Deaf.

6) In Deaf Ministry…what do you think are a few things that need to be emphasized to the people who attend classes, worship, socials, etc?

Wow…as I looked back into my years of ministry…the biggest thing is commitment. Many will say communication, even. But if commitment is there…communication will fall into place. It starts with commitment. Too many times, people that I have worked with have broken their commitments dues to reasons that could have been worked around or prayed for to seek God’s wisdom. Commitment to come and help setup for the socials. Commitment to be willing to serve and teach a class. Commitment to be willing to type up a bulletin for the worship services. Commitment to be willing to pick up people to bring them to church. Commitment to help anyway possible if needed. Without commitment, especially from volunteers…there probably would be alot of pastors and leaders who would get burned out from doing everything.

Next time…will finish up the remaining questions……

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