Gospel Community Church is a multilingual, multicultural, family of differently-abled individuals on mission to see the name of Jesus made famous, among the oppressed, overlooked, and unreached peoples of the world, beginning in our own backyard.
Hi, my name is Danny Hinton, and I'm the pastor at Gospel Community Church.
It was probably eight years ago, I was working as a full-time interpreter for the deaf and hard of hearing in a little small town in Muhlenberg County. A buddy of mine's a pastor at a local church, invited me ... Somebody had stepped out of a ticket to a Catalyst Conference in Atlanta. As they scrolled through the screen, like just a listing on the unreached people groups in the United States and across the planet, they were starting with the smallest groups and rolling their way to the largest unreached people groups. And fourth from the top, it just said, "Deaf," that was it, and I just sat there in this conference full of 15-18,000 people, and I'm like, "That can't be. That can't be true."
So, I literally walked outside, called the International Mission Board, and found out that 750,000,000 deaf people on the planet, globally, were unreached with the gospel. And in the United States alone, 7.5 million deaf individuals were unreached. They didn't have any access to the gospel. They didn't have translations of the Bible, and in my home state, Kentucky, 110,000 deaf individuals — culturally deaf individuals without access to the gospel. And then, I think the most shocking thing for me was, finding out that there were only 39 churches, of any denomination, across the board, planted with the specific purpose of reaching the deaf with the gospel. These were people that I had spent the last 30 years working with. They weren't just a statistic or a number, but they were friends and family members, and cousins, and uncles, and it was people that I knew.
And so, that day, I just began to pray that God would open a door, and word got out that a guy that had actually gone to seminary can sign. And I began to get phone calls across ... Nashville, Virginia, Ohio, as far as Seattle. Deaf churches, just by way of survival were very infocused. Very, let's just hold onto the $50 we got in our budget to buy coffee. Let's just keep the doors open. Let's just keep together, and there was no equipping the saint for the work of the ministry. No, reaching the neighborhood, or taking the gospel outside of the doors.
I'm not necessarily a gifted church planner, not necessarily a gifted pastor. I happen to be gifted with the language and the culture of the people that I have grown up in, and so, I knew from the beginning, we were going to need lots of help. Sojourn is very gifted and diversely gifted with how to plant. And we knew, with 7.5 million individuals, just in our Judea and Samaria, not counting our Jerusalem (1800 deaf individuals). If we were every going to replicate this, we need people that know what they're doing because we got to plant and plant, and plant, and train others, and plant.
I didn't expect to be welcomed like we were though. I'll be just honest, we're an oddball, we're a red marble in a bag full of blue marbles. We're a deaf church plant, that's cross-cultural, multilingual, with a group of individuals that most people consider handicapped. Why in the world would Sojourn Network, who plants these robust theologically-sound churches, ever consider helping a little small, dinky, deaf church plant like us? And we walked in day one, and it was, open arms, "Wow, we love what you're doing, this is the mission of God." And they just got right behind us.