Looking Back, Looking Ahead

In Faithful Obedience

Sometimes it’s difficult to anticipate all that God will do when His people faithfully step out and obey His calling. One small step of obedience can lead to an eternal impact in the life of countless others. That’s exactly what has happened as a result of the faithfulness of those who felt called to begin a Deaf ministry at Brentwood Baptist over 20 years ago.

On May 2-3, the Brentwood Baptist Deaf Church will celebrate their 20th anniversary. The real story of this amazing congregation actually began long before the church’s beginning in 1995. It all began in 1984 when a woman felt called to begin an interpretive ministry at Brentwood Baptist even before a Deaf person attended the church.

With a Passion for the Gospel

Betty Stirsman was passionate about starting a Deaf ministry and she began interpreting in the worship services. Her belief was that if the church began interpreting, the Deaf would come. By 1986, a Deaf Sunday School class was started and steps were taken toward beginning a Deaf church. For two years, pastors would travel from Memphis and Knoxville to teach every Sunday morning. This was a great sacrifice for these leaders and soon it became clear that it was time to officially begin a Deaf church at Brentwood Baptist.

On May 1, 1995, the Brentwood Baptist Deaf Church began. The church took the initiative and reached out, knocking on every Deaf person’s door and inviting him or her to come to the church. The congregation quickly grew from just 3 people in attendance to 45 people.

A Unique Ministry Opportunity

Camp SummerSign began in 1997. This has become an important ministry for the Deaf Church. For 8 weeks every summer, children and teenagers spend their days at the Brentwood Baptist Deaf Church learning valuable skills like ASL, problem solving, teamwork, decision-making, and so much more! Students also participate in fun field trips including laser tag, volleyball, creating and producing movies movies, horseback riding, visiting the Deaf Library in Nashville, and more. Camp SummerSign has been life changing for many students and even their families. The love and support of the staff makes a significant difference in the life of each child.

With Intentional Design

In December of 2003, the Inman Deaf Chapel opened. Every aspect of this 257-seat chapel was designed with the Deaf in mind. Every seat has a direct sightline to the stage. The floors have speakers built within them so the Deaf can feel the music. There is a loop system so those with hearing aids can tie directly into the sound system with a flip of a switch on their hearing aid.

In 2014, the Deaf Theological Center opened, providing 15 hours of seminary credit to students. The first six graduates are now serving around the world, equipped to share the gospel in with the Deaf in other countries. The Deaf Theological Center is significant in the Deaf community because it prepares the Deaf to become missionaries, church planters, and more. This means that more Deaf churches will be available around the country and around the world as students graduate and are sent out to fulfill God’s calling on their lives.

Because of the God’s Faithfulness

The theme of the upcoming 20th anniversary celebration is “Past, Present, and Future” and the weekend will focus on celebrating the past, praising God for the present, and looking expectantly to what He will do in the future. Events of the weekend will include a brunch and a banquet on Saturday and worship and lunch on Sunday.

The Deaf Church welcomes anyone who is a part of Brentwood Baptist to join in the celebration. God has brought to life this Deaf Church within Brentwood Baptist. It’s unusual for a Deaf church to exist with a staff and incredible resources. Aric Randolph, Pastor of the Deaf Church, explains, “God has placed the church here at Brentwood. This is what God wants. It’s His vision…and Brentwood helps make it happen.”

The Lord is at Work

God is truly at work in and through the Deaf Church. For over 20 years, His people have been faithfully reaching out and sharing the love of Christ with the Deaf community in the Nashville area. This is just the beginning. The steps of faith taken years ago have grown into an amazing ministry for God’s glory. It’s an exciting time to be a part of the Brentwood Baptist Deaf Church!

For more information about the 20th anniversary celebration, visit BrentwoodDeaf.org.