EE director lands in Missouri, seeks to minister to the deaf
By Barbara Shoun
June 14, 2005
ARNOLD – Bob Nowicki first came into contact with the deaf community when he was studying to become a Catholic priest. Today, he is an ordained Baptist minister, serving as national director for Evangelism Explosion’s (EE) deaf ministry.
Nowicki and his wife, Cheryl, are members of First Baptist Church, Arnold. They chose Arnold because of its central location for a nationwide ministry, and they chose First Baptist because of its strong deaf ministry of about 60 people.
Having received Christ as his personal Savior in early adulthood, Nowicki went on to become a pastoral student at Moody Bible Institute. He had always enjoyed being around the deaf community, and it was at Moody that he learned of the great need for ministry.
“I found out that less than three percent of the deaf population in the U.S. attended any church, whether Christian or not. Less than one percent professed to know Christ as their Savior,” he says. “That broke my heart.”
After graduation, Nowicki took classes to become an interpreter for the deaf; he is nationally certified. He served as pastor to the deaf at Baptist Temple in McAllen, Texas, for almost six years. The deaf ministry-EE connection was made when the senior pastor sent all the staff to be trained for EE.
He and Cheryl took the training and were certified. EE asked them to consider being certified to teach the deaf. Shortly thereafter, they were asked to become full-time staff members. They left the pastorate last June, raised their support, and moved to Arnold in December to begin work.
“Our whole goal with this is to equip the deaf to reach the deaf,” says Nowicki, “and there is a great deaf population at First Baptist that is ready to take this on.”
Six deaf people made up the initial EE class at Arnold. During that time, working in two teams of three, they have shared the Gospel in the deaf community. In the first nine weeks of training, 10 people came to Christ, two were baptized, and a family became members of the church. Three deaf people have been certified as teachers of the EE plan and will begin teaching in the next semester.
The Nowickis are also meeting with the deaf community at Fulton, near the School for the Deaf, to discuss the ministry of EE. Nowicki says the need for ministry to the deaf is still inadequate.
“We, as Southern Baptists, have the best work that’s going on right now in the deaf community, and we only have about 60 pastors. There’s only a handful of people in each church.”
The Nowickis teach a hearing class at First Baptist Church in addition to their involvement with the deaf community.