International Lutheran Deaf Association

Information about

Our Mission

ILDA is an organization committed to spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ among deaf and hard-of-hearing people through mission work in the U.S. and around the world. In our local congregations, we work together to tell the deaf people in our communities about the salvation we have in Jesus. Our main focus is to support Lutheran mission work with deaf people in other countries. We support them with our money, prayers, and people to do the work. 

What is ILDA?

The International Lutheran Deaf Association is a fellowship of Christians who have joined together to encourage one another to grow in God's Word and to bring that Word to the world. Our members are primarily from Deaf congregations of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, where we worship in American Sign Language. Also among us are Deaf members of hearing churches which provide access through ASL interpreters.

ILDA began its ministry in 1971, holding its first biennial convention in Chicago. Working in partnership with the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod and the Lutheran Deaf Mission Society, we desire to be faithful people of God, led by Him and our blessed Savior, Jesus Christ, and inspired by His Word. We aspire to encourage faith and Christian service in our affiliated congregations and to promote the Gospel of Christ among the Deaf everywhere. We strive to enrich the lives of Deaf people through spiritual growth and to develop Christian leadership among all with whom we associate.

With over forty years of faithful service, the International Lutheran Deaf Association offers praise to the Lord of the Church for the many accomplishments it has been permitted to achieve and blessings upon its ministry.

History of ILDA:
PowerPoint    PDF-b/w    PDF-color

25th Anniversary Book (1995)

What Is ILDA Doing?

With over $350,000 in mission projects funded since its inception in 1971, both at home and abroad, ILDA continues its mission of Christian service. Every two years ILDA selects projects to support from the list of applicants. In past years we have supported Deaf education and leadership training in Ghana, India, and Macau, summer camp for Deaf children, youth service projects, education and rehabilitation for challenged Deaf adults, the Deaf Institute of Theology, and scholarships for individuals preparing for full time service in Lutheran Deaf ministry. Some of these projects continue to receive ongoing support through ILDA's mission program, while we are alert for new opportunities for service and outreach.

Working in partnership with congregations of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod and the Lutheran Deaf Mission Society, the International Lutheran Deaf Association endeavors to promote spiritual growth and Christian service among its membership. We also seek to give greater visibility to those outside the hearing church and demonstrate their ability to administer their own ministerial programs.

As the LCMS launches into her second century of bringing God's Word to Deaf people in their own language, the International Lutheran Deaf Association confidently faces the challenge of adding our support to the Church's mission.

Realizing that God opens doors of opportunity where we can be of service to Him, ILDA will continue its mission of outreach wherever such opportunities exist.

You may catch up on the latest developments in ILDA from The Deaf Lutheran quarterly newsletter, the ILDA FaceBook page, and our President's Vlog.




India received $20,000 from ILDA to help purchase land for a Deaf Lutheran Training Center. Almost 3 acres of land in Hosur, India was purchased with the money.

Jennifer Knaack shows her wares from her mission in Macau, China.


 Rev. John Reinke and his wife display their warewobes and wares from their mission in Ghana, Africa.

Ep-phatha Lutheran Deaf School in India.

    Youths and Adults in Youth Service Projects. This group served in California during summer 2003.

Deaf students of Jamasi School in Ghana, Africa.

ILDA Structure

The International Lutheran Deaf Association is organized into seven North American regions. Regional conferences are held in even- numbered years; the international convention meets in odd-numbered years.

The ILDA Executive Council includes five elected officers: President, President-elect, Secretary, Treasurer, and Pastoral Advisor.  Also a representative of the Lutheran Deaf  Mission Society serves on the Executive Council.

The ILDA Board of Directors is comprised of the six members of the Executive Council and the seven regional presidents.

You Can Help

There are three categories of membership in the International Lutheran Deaf Association­ Active, Associate and Supporting.

ACTIVE MEMBERS are deaf Lutheran lay people. They must be communicant members in a congregation or field of the Lutheran Church­Missouri Synod or The Lutheran Church–­Canada. Active members are full voting members of the ILDA. They may propose and vote on Constitution and By-Laws changes. Only active members may be officers in the ILDA or any of its regions.

ASSOCIATE MEMBERS are Lutheran deaf or hearing people who are communicant members in good standing of a Lutheran congregation. They are divided into three groups: (1) Lutheran hearing people (lay or clergy) who are members of The Lutheran Church–­Missouri Synod;  (2)  LCMS pastors (deaf and hearing); and (3) Lutheran deaf people (lay or clergy) who are not members of The Lutheran Church­–Missouri Synod.

Associate members can propose and vote on candidates, programs, projects and mission work of the ILDA and its regions. They cannot propose or vote on the Constitution and By-Laws.

SUPPORTING MEMBERS are non-Lutheran Christians who want to join in the Christian ministry of the ILDA through involvement in its purposes and programs. Persons wishing to become Supporting Members are welcomed into the Association, but do not otherwise qualify as Active or Associate members. Such members may make proposal concerning programs and projects but may not vote or be officers in the ILDA or its regions.

All three categories pay the same membership dues, which are currently $30.00 per 2-years. For enrollment form, click here.

Above all, we ernestly solicit your prayers that the Lord of the church will continue to bless the work of The International Lutheran Deaf Association to the glory of His Name.


ILDA Brochure
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