When Christ came to our world, His main purpose was our salvation. But He also came with more immediate, temporal KPIs. As Isaiah put it: “Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped” (35:5, NIV). It’s been my privilege as manager of the Church’s Christian Services for the Blind and Hearing Impaired (CSFBHI) to share in His ministry, providing a range of services to enhance the lives of those with sight or hearing challenges.
CSFBHI is funded by a biennial offering (January 25)—your opportunity to join me in carrying forward Christ’s objectives, as CSFBHI works to improve accessibility to the gospel for the sight- and sound-challenged. “Accessibility” is important in today’s world, where equity and inclusiveness are legislated. But more than that, they are a requirement of our mission to take the gospel to all tongues and peoples. The Deaf are a “people group” in their own right, speaking their own language, be it Auslan, NZSL or ASL, with their own culture. But Christianity in all its forms has largely failed to impact on this group, with less than one per cent of world’s 300 million Deaf attending church. (And thinking about your church, why would they?)
To mitigate this, CSFBHI sponsors interpreting and hearing augmentation services at major meetings and in local churches, along with closed-captioned video media, such as Beyond the Search and Tell the World. And for sight-impaired members it provides an audio book library of some 1000 mostly denominational books, including the Sabbath School Quarterly lessons, and access to more audio and Braille content.
Today, in addition to giving, also think about who might benefit from our service, helping us to complete the gospel commission.