01 March 2010 ~ Comments

Captioning Church Programming

Closed captioning has become such an integral part of the American communications landscape that it appears in everything from children’s educational programming to sporting events. Since it’s important for hearing-impaired individuals to have access to those sorts of programs, why not religious programming also?

Sometimes faith-based organizations are strapped for cash and so they put captioning on the back burner. Many provide captioning only when it is mandated by law. Many others consider it as an undue burden to provide captioning for their TV program or internet media. But in doing so, they alienate viewers who really need and desire access to the church’s message, and more importantly, God. Ruling out captions essentially walls off the entire deaf and hard of hearing population as unimportant!

Adding captions to evangelistic programming brings that extra bit of encouragement and steadiness into the lives of people with hearing loss. Many shut-ins rely on religious programming, and many of these people also have difficulty hearing. Because they cannot get out of the house, their favorite weekly local church broadcast may be all the church they get.

The faithful are called to spread the word, and captioning makes that more achievable. Churches and non-profits may consider the same prospective for their web-based communications. Hearing–impaired individuals can read the newsletter and get information from a flier, but without closed captioning, they miss out on a recorded sermon or an inspirational video about a new ministry opportunity.

Both television and Internet programming can reach people who are too far away to attend your church, or who live in remote areas where there isn’t an accessible church. In this situation, technology opens up doors not only for the hearing-impaired, but for speakers of other languages.

It’s not easy to balance a budget, especially when your project is sharing resources with a dozen other ministries. But don’t write off captioning as an unnecessary luxury. It’s a valuable tool, and worth every penny; because it helps you reach those people who are waiting out there for someone to tap them on the shoulder and invite them to follow.

  • Avonzeun

    its a very interesting one

  • RitaDemos

    I searched the web, and the closed captioned sermons are few and far between.
    Can you give me a few of them. Thanks.

  • Captioning also helps people who can hear fine but don't speak English very well. Often time the obstacle in understanding is that a non-native speaker doesn't recognize words well because of accent or unfamiliarity.

  • Great article that every media ministry should read.

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