At Christian TEFL we are always keen to share ways of combining English language teaching and the Gospel. Here we put the spotlight on ‘Spotlight’ – a ministry with huge potential to reach the world through its free audio programmes and spin-off English clubs.
Colin Lowther, one of the Spotlight team leaders, explains more…
‘If being a missionary overseas from the comfort of your own living room sounds impossible, think again as that is what increasing numbers of people are doing with Spotlight.
But just what is Spotlight?
Spotlight is a free audio programme made for people using or learning English as a foreign language, especially in the two-thirds world. Five 15 minute programmes are broadcast every week, both on radio stations on six continents and online. A special English method of broadcasting is used that makes the audio easier for people learning English to understand. It is spoken at about half normal speed, uses short clear sentences and a vocabulary of only 1500 words.
The programmes are made by three partner missions in UK and USA, and aims to serve listeners with interesting and engaging globally-minded content that reflects Spotlight’s Christian worldview.
Spotlight is accessed globally, although Vietnam, Russia, Ecuador and South Korea are our highest users. Our audience is primarily young and technologically savvy; our apps and Facebook are popular.
But where does this being a missionary from the comfort of your own living room come in?
A spin-off ministry from the original radio programmes is English Conversation Clubs. This started at a church in Ecuador – each week people met to talk in English about one of the radio programmes. Soon other churches started holding conversation clubs. The clubs provided opportunities for people to develop relationships with Christians and start talking about issues of faith that arose naturally out of the programmes. Imagine being the first person to tell someone the Christmas story. Then imagine being able to explain why Christmas is important for Christians. This is what has happened to people leading Spotlight English Clubs both in the UK and South East Asia.
The demand for clubs is very high but there are insufficient English speaking club leaders in some countries. So a new strategy is proving very successful – Spotlight Skype Conversation Clubs. These innovative clubs even provide access into otherwise closed countries. Each club typically has about 6 members from one country, and the leader is anywhere – even in their own living room in the UK!
One man in Canada, started running a club in a country in South East Asia in October 2013. He loves it and now runs three clubs. He says;
‘this job turns out to be much more than just trying to help students with their English. I feel sometimes like a Counsellor, a Mentor, a Father, a trusted Friend I do enjoy it.’
Spotlight and you?
It is not a teaching programme but it helps develop speaking and listening skills. Many teachers around the world have found they can use Spotlight in their lessons or as an extension activity. If you would like your students to listen to Spotlight, just point them to www.spotlightenglish.com
If you or a friend would like to run a Spotlight Club, either locally or on Skype, sign up here.
A manager for the Spotlight Specialised English Ministry is currently being sought. For more details contact firstname.lastname@example.org