NASHVILLE (BP) – The 2022 Book of Reports for the Southern Baptist Convention has been released. In it, Southern Baptists receive updates over the last year regarding SBC entities, including discussions pertaining to recommendations at last year’s annual meeting.
Those recommendations included one pertaining to ministry resources for the Deaf. The recommendation asked that those resources include but not be limited to “theological education, discipleship materials, print, video, and other resources prepared in and by individuals skilled in [American Sign Language].”
The North American Mission Board, International Mission Board and Lifeway Christian Resources responded to the request for a feasibility study on the matter
That collaborated report among the three entities – first seen on page 60 in the IMB report – noted the publication of “Explore the Bible: Deaf” by Lifeway. Written by hearing-impaired writers, the simplified text becomes more compatible with ASL. A digital library of “Explore the Bible: Deaf” will be available for free this summer at Lifeway.com/ExploretheBibleDeaf.
Lifeway also includes captions in video discipleship products and ASL interpreters at many events, the report noted.
In partnership with state conventions, NAMB has a sponsorship of RID (Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf), which helps provide a national registry for certified interpreters. NAMB also sponsors workshops for deaf ministry each year in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
Through its partnership with the Deaf Theological Center in Brentwood, Tenn., the IMB has provided “instructors, customized course delivery and financial support for missionaries and their families.” Other partners are Union University, the Southern Baptist Conference for the Deaf, Brentwood Baptist Church and Brentwood Baptist Deaf Church. Seminary-level training includes instruction in missions and ministry, hermeneutics, Old Testament, New Testament, doctrine and theology.
Other actions on the IMB’s part include a partnership with Brentwood Baptist Church toward producing the Deaf Pathway Global’s Bible App, which offers sign language translations of Bible stories. More information can be found at imb.org/deaf.
The SBC Executive Committee report is lengthy with “significant actions” beginning on page 10. Many of them are related to the third-party investigation into allegations of mishandling sexual abuse claims. Items include adopting the contract and funding for Guidepost Solutions as well as naming the Bradley law firm as the EC’s interim legal representation following the decision by longtime SBC attorneys Guenther, Jordan & Price to withdraw.
In other business, the EC report notes the appointment of Willie McLaurin as interim president and chief executive officer and the selection of a six-member EC president search team at the February meeting. Trustees also issued an apology to Jennifer Lyell, acknowledging that her story of sexual abuse had been misrepresented by Baptist Press.
All six Southern Baptist seminaries provide reports followed by additional information such as seminary comparative data and a report on seminary extension. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and Woman’s Missionary Union reported on their year in ministry as well.