The World Deaf Assemblies of God Fellowship’s website may be simple, but at the top of every page the group’s purpose is boldly declared: “To activate an alliance among deaf believers of AG and AG-like faiths all over the world and combine forces for a worldwide Holy Spirit movement for spreading the gospel to the deaf.”
The organization’s leadership reflects its global nature. WDAGF President and co-founder Emory K. Dively hails from the United States, while other officials represent Australia and New Zealand, Kenya, Venezuela, Estonia, South Korea and Japan. A total of 60 countries have connections to the group.
Dively, who is an Intercultural Ministries missionary with AG U.S. Missions, expresses his desire for WDAGF to provide fellowship, a platform for sharing ideas, networking, evangelism and the promotion of deaf culture awareness. To those ends, the group provides many events for deaf and hard of hearing individuals around the world.
WDAGF partners closely with the National Deaf Culture Fellowship, which began in 1991 under the sponsorship of the U.S. Assemblies of God. Among the goals of the National Deaf Culture Fellowship, which is part of the AG’s U.S. Missions’ Intercultural Ministries, is to remove language and cultural barriers that deaf and hard of hearing individuals may encounter in attempts to conduct ministry.
Some churches in the U.S. have started separate congregations for the deaf.
In 2014, the WDAGF and the National Deaf Culture Fellowship co-hosted a World Deaf Assemblies of God conference in California. Previously, the WDAGF had hosted its own conferences every three years, beginning in South Korea in 2003, followed by Estonia in 2006, and in Japan in 2009.
Government upheaval in 2012 in the planned location of Kazakhstan resulted in the postponement and eventual rescheduling of the fourth conference in cooperation with the National Deaf Culture Fellowship’s conference in San Francisco in 2014. More than 500 international representatives attended the event.
The next conference is scheduled for 2017 in Brisbane, Australia, and will commemorate WDAGF’s 25th anniversary.