Ministry Highlight: GCC Owensboro
A story of God’s provision and calling
At the young age of three, Danny was introduced to the Deaf community. He began learning sign language at this time and through the years built strong friendships with Deaf individuals. As a college student, Danny started a job as an American Sign Language interpreter and went on to interpret in school systems, legal settings, and became one of very few medical interpreters in Kentucky.
It wasn’t until Danny was asked to preach at a Deaf church that he realized his calling; he wanted to be a pastor in the Deaf community. God later revealed the great need for Danny’s work and skills when he learned that out of all Unreached People Groups (UPGs), Deaf persons hit fourth on the list and that 1,500 Deaf persons die each day without knowing the Gospel (The Barna Group). In 2003, he answered God’s call and began pastoring.
Centered on Jesus
In the midst of pastoring and later church planting, two concerns arose that brought clarity and focus to God’s calling for Danny and the leaders at the Gospel Community Church plant in Owensboro, Kentucky.
- Deaf culture-centric versus Gospel-centric: it was not uncommon to find Deaf churches centering their mission on celebrating shared survival of oppression and marginalization, history, and culture rather than the Gospel of Christ. In light of this, accurate Bible translations and a deepened focus on the Gospel were paramount in Danny’s ministry goals.
Lack of discipleship: this issue was also a common theme amongst Deaf churches that Danny visited. In a beautiful illustration of God answering prayer, Danny shared that a Deaf congregant at GCC signed the gospel with a newcomer who was Deaf and Blind. This individual was baptized the following week!
Full inclusion or nothing at all
In recent years, the congregation at Owensboro has been blessed with 70-100 congregants from a multitude of cultures, languages, abilities, spiritual journeys and socioeconomic backgrounds. “Disability doesn’t care where you come from. We constantly have to consider accessibility for refugees, the Blind, congregants with cerebral palsy, the hearing, and the Deaf. It makes for a bumpy ride.”
“We don’t move forward unless its together. The members we have are such integral parts of the body and we’d be handicapped without them.”
GCC Owensboro leaders unite on this front: “Whoever God sends us, we have to have full inclusion. We’re married to the mission of reaching these folks, but we’ll date whatever method of ministry to make it happen. Even if it means slowing down.”
Disability-impacted individuals, in many cases, rely on income from the government. In a community often marked by poverty, GCC congregants are celebrating the multiplication of God’s gifts seen in recent renovations in their building.
GCC Owensboro is working hard to bring the Gospel to the unreached and are praying for wisdom on uniting the many people groups represented in their church. Join us as we pray for this church and for the Lord to raise up more leaders that desire to welcome the disabled into their churches!
Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain (Ps. 127:1)