Getting “Out of the Box” to Reach the Deaf

Deaf pastor and church planter John Wyble and his wife, Denise, serve the Deaf community through 2 Deaf congregations in Virginia. They use American Sign Language to communicate God’s message of redemption.

What are some of the challenges you face in reaching the Deaf and how do you deal with those?

John: We have to overcome the walls built up through worldly lifestyles. We have found through years of ministry that building relationships is crucial. By living a righteous and compassionate example, we are ready to share the gospel when the right time comes. One example is when deaf ladies at our church host a women’s retreat on the beach. They will pay the way for unsaved friends. They were thrilled when the unsaved woman Denise sponsored became a believer.

What are some of the ways your churches serve the community?

John: We deliver Christmas Basket Blessings to older deaf people or deaf people not attending church. We fill the baskets with handcrafted ornaments and home-baked goods. We reach out to Deaf who are expecting and give them baby showers. We bring meals after their baby is born. At Thanksgiving events, we focus on the theme of giving. One year, through a pie sale and silent action, we raised almost $700. We sent it to a Deaf school in Haiti. This past year, we took donations for 2 deaf families in our extended community who were very ill and needed help with medical expenses.

You mentioned “out of the box” activities. What are some of the ways you minister besides traditional Sunday services?

John: Since I serve as pastor for 2 Deaf churches, I hold 1 service on Saturday evening bimonthly. I also teach a small deaf group in another city once a month. Three times during the summer, we host Sundays@ThePark. We do this on Father’s Day, the Fourth of July, and a back to school event. At this final event, we always have a baptism in the lake. Through these activities, we bear a witness of God’s love to the community.

Pray for John to have good time management skills for ministry, family, and devotional time.

Phyllis Godwin is a freelance writer.

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