Deaf Americans are Americans that are affected by deafness and who use American Sign Language as their main means of communication. They make up a distinctive Deaf culture which incorporates social beliefs, behaviors, art, literary traditions, history, values, and shared community institutions.
Members of the Deaf community tend to view deafness as a difference in human experience rather than a disability that should be corrected.
The community may include family members of Deaf people and sign-language interpreters who identify with Deaf culture and does not automatically include all people who are deaf or hard of hearing. It is not the extent of hearing loss that defines a member of the Deaf community but the individual's own sense of identity as Deaf, and the actions and behaviors that they assume as a result. A person is a member of the Deaf community if he or she self-identifies as a member of the Deaf community, and other members accept that person as a part of the community.
Although as much as half of deafness has genetic causes, fewer than five percent of Deaf people have a Deaf parent, so Deaf communities are unusual among cultural groups in that most members do not acquire their cultural identities from parents. Historically, Deaf culture has often been acquired within Deaf schools and within social clubs for the Deaf, both of which unite the American Deaf into communities with which they can identify. Becoming Deaf culturally can occur at different times for different people, depending on the circumstances of one's life.
While Deaf Americans may be found in churches whose predominant focus is to the hearing community, there are also churches focused specifically on ministry to the Deaf. More churches are needed to minister specifically to the unique needs of the Deaf, as well as to pass on a passion for missions to Deaf peoples around the world.
Pray for the gospel to continue to spread in the Deaf American community.
Pray for God to raise up Christian leaders from within the Deaf community to work in the harvest.
Pray for Christians in the Deaf American community to start new churches and ministries for the Deaf.
Pray for Deaf American Christians to catch a vision for reaching out cross-culturally to other Deaf groups around the world.
"After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb." (Revelation 7:9, NIV)