Churches come together to encourage each other
Christian TEFL held our first ESOL Connect for Churches online event this week.
Christians from across the UK gathered in their lounges, home offices, churches and kitchens on Monday evening. They came together to share some of the encouragement and challenges they have faced while reaching out to second language speakers through English classes and international cafés.
At this invitation zoom session for Christian TEFL-linked churches, current and former trainees from over a dozen churches met to share with each other how ESOL outreach is continuing today.
William led a brief presentation on ESOL opportunities coming out of Covid before the session split into breakout rooms. Participants discussed the encouragement of serving communities through English language teaching, and then some of the issues we face. It was a great opportunity to share what’s working well and brainstorm ideas for meeting the challenges this form of outreach takes.
One church commented that it is seeing good numbers coming to a mini-Alpha event. Another has started outreach and the classes they are running are full. In fact, their local council has asked if they can support more second-language speakers. They said have over 100 on their waiting list for English language help.
Feedback from the ESOL Connect for Churches event
Following the one-hour session, one participant commented:
“I found it helpful hearing from people who were involved in ESOL outreach, particularly amongst refugees and asylum seekers. I appreciated people sharing their experiences.”
“I have been challenged to look to join with others in ESOL teaching in order to use my time more efficiently and put skills learnt into practice.”
Another participant added this:
“I found the comments about straightforward Christian content encouraging. It made me think through how we might talk about Easter: sharing secular customs and finish with a simple presentation of Jesus’s death and resurrection.”
Overall people really expressed their enthusiasm and found sharing ideas with each other helpful. 100% of survey responses said they found meeting others online involved in this outreach encouraging. Others commented that discussions in breakout rooms on the joys and challenges of outreach were useful.
One participant said:
“I’d like to know more about how people bring the Bible into their lessons” and another “How do we use the Bible in ESOL classes … how to help students take the step of coming to church?”
So we think we had better start planning for future events! If your church is thinking of using English for outreach, contact us today to see how we can support you…