Opportunities for people in the Deaf community to participate in fellowship are limited. There are even fewer opportunities to fully participate at conferences, concerts, and events.
Fortunately, there are churches and parachurch organizations that are extending an invitation to Deaf people. They are taking active steps to make Deaf people feel welcome as they walk in, as they engage in the message, and as they participate in ministry.
One of these organization is IF:, a ministry that equips women to live out their purpose. At the IF:Gathering in Austin, Texas, the organizers took some simple steps to accommodate Deaf women to participate in the conference from all over the United States and beyond. The live stream conference for women has a ASL streaming option that has an ASL interpreter on the screen.
IF: is an example of how small steps make a big difference in the spiritual growth of Deaf people.
Here are three ways they invited a Deaf audience to be moved by their ministry’s message.
1 They trusted the Lord
Committing to inviting a Deaf audience can be scary. There are many unknowns. Truth is, a Deaf audience wasn’t even on their radar as they began planning. They received requests for an interpreter from attendees and decided to take a leap of faith.
They knew the Lord wanted more people to be moved. This, they believed, included Deaf people.
2 They designated a single point person
Sonshine Interpreting had the honor of being chosen to coordinate interpreters for the IF:Gathering.
IF: provided our team with a single person in charge of communicating with us. This single point of contact between our team and the event’s organizers kept us constantly informed.
We felt prepared.
We (and by extension the Deaf audience members) felt welcomed and valued.
Good communication ensured both the event production team and the interpreters were set for success.
3 They captioned videos
IF: does a great job utilizing multiple forms of media, particularly video.
They knew a large portion of their audience would miss enormous sections of the program if their videos did not include captions.
With captions on all of their videos, all Deaf audience members could easily see, read, understand, and participate in every aspect of the event.
IF: heard a call from the Lord and were led to expand their audience to include the Deaf community.
The steps they took to invite and serve a Deaf audience were simple and relatively small. But these small adjustments made an enormous impact on the Deaf people who attended. Read a quote from IF:Gathering leadership at: www.sonshineinterpreting.com/jennie-allen.