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Church and the Deaf:

William Vicars

Growing a Deaf Church

A Deaf church will grow and expand to the extent that it fosters connections between its members and the surrounding Deaf community.
Connections include: to each other, to inactive (or less active) members, to investigators and to the general Deaf community.
So ask yourself, "How can we foster genuine friendships between church members?"  How can we get them communicating with each other "outside" of church during the other six days of the week?

Some ways:
Make sure that intercommunication is easy:  distribute phone and email lists.
Make sure they know where each other lives:  distribute maps and directions.
Make sure they know each other's hobbies:  interview and disseminate, do spotlights, and news letters.
Make sure the members know who their assigned families are, where they live, and how to contact them.
For example, what if you were to get a list of birthdays from your clerk and then consistently go through that list each week and find out all the kids (and adults) who have birthdays and then make sure that the home teacher or visit teacher pays a visit to the kid on his or her birthday?  
While it is "good" for one or two church leaders to visit a less active member, it is immeasurably more impactful for them to empower and inspire the regular Deaf member to go out and visit and teach other Deaf. For example, suppose you decide to "visit" Lisa Smith.  Instead of visiting her, find out what other church members live near her, then play match maker between the active member and Lisa by setting up the appointment, drawing a map, committing the member to show up on the assigned day and otherwise greasing the way for it to happen.  Then see what you can do about getting one or two MORE members to show up and/or one of the recently converted members to show up.

Encourage the members to host many small get-togethers  at their houses and to invite other members to attend.

In doing so, you help form interconnections that will eventually become friendships and grow your church.

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