Introducing Deaf Ministry: Sobering Statistics
Last time, I promised to provide some statistics about Deaf ministry that would, quite frankly, shock you. I will not give a lot of introduction to these facts; instead, I will let them speak for themselves.
- There are an estimated 250 million Deaf individuals worldwide.
- The U.S. Census Bureau reports 35 million Americans have hearing trouble. Of this number, at least 1 million (or more, estimates vary) are what we would call Deaf in the sense in which I am a minister.
- In Louisville/Jefferson County alone, Census figures estimate 14,000 deaf individuals. Add the "hard of hearing," and this number jumps to over 69,000. Many of these, however, are older people who have lost their hearing. The actual number of Deaf individuals is more likely between 7,000 - 8,000, according to estimates given to me by the local Department of Vocational Rehabilitation.
- Many of these Deaf individuals cannot be found. A canvassing survey undertaken by my church, Louisville Baptist Deaf Church, in the 1990s was only able to uncover about 400 names.
- Of the worldwide and American numbers, according to the organization Deaf Missions, less than two percent (2%) of Deaf individuals claim to be Christians. This means that, percentage wise, there are less than 200 Deaf Christians in Louisville. The actual number, to my knowledge, is at or slightly greater than this percentage.
- The majority of these Christians either do not regularly attend church, "church hop" in order to be with friends as much as possible, or are not active in the churches of which they are members.
- Bob Rhoads of Campus Crusade for Christ reports that in 2005, 42 out of the 65 Deaf churches in the U.S. did not have a pastor.
- In Louisville, there is only one Deaf church, and it is blessed to have two pastors, myself and our Senior Pastor Tim Bender.