How teaching English can be missional

How teaching English can be missional


Hannah was teaching English informally 1-1 to a Japanese student Yuko. A question in an Easter-themed English lesson led Yuko to ask more about Jesus. Soon Hannah was leading a bible study in English for Yuko and 7 of her friends.

Barbara has set up an English café from her local church in London welcoming people from over 10 different nationalities.

Louisa teaches English online. It suits her time-wise, is paid and in getting to know the students she teaches one-to-one, she is able to share aspects of her faith.

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These are just a few of the many and diverse ways English teaching can facilitate Christian outreach. While there are many skills that can be useful in showing Jesus and sharing our faith, we've identified a few of the reasons why we think TEFL is particularly distinctive in terms of mission. Have a look at these five points below and see if you agree:

1. Paid English teaching can help support unpaid mission work 
Mission workers need support, through prayer, friendship and finance. However, there are also ways that those looking to share their faith can support themselves. Currently there is huge demand for online English teachers, which means that missionaries, whose time is mostly spent in outreach, can also obtain accessible paid work at times to suit them and from anywhere in the world where there is reliable internet access. We have the example of Paul, who looked on his original trade of tentmaking as a means to an end (Acts 18:3). Teaching English in this way can be a modern day equivalent. 

2. English teachers can go more easily where others sometimes can't
English is in such demand that qualified EFL teachers are often welcomed in countries where it is harder for Christians, particularly those from the west, find it more difficult to access. There are thousands of TEFL opportunities worldwide, both paid and unpaid, especially in Asia and in the Middle East.  

3. Use Christian themes and festivals to introduce who Jesus was
Depending on who and where you are teaching, it can be really interesting to use Christian themes and festivals like Easter in English lessons.  It's good to ask first, of course, but if you are teaching a group of learners who are interested in faith, then these can be great starting points for discussion. If you think that students might be interested in reading something from the bible, then take a look at these bible-based English teaching resources, which will give you a good starting point.  

4. People engage better with people
Student views, lives and experiences form the basis of many of the best English lessons. This means you can get to know your students really well. Meeting up for a tea, coffee or chat provides a good starting upon which to build a relationship. As friendships grow, you may both be able to share your perspective on life, faith and where appropriate, share Jesus with others who are seeking to curious to find out more. 

5. Get qualified!
It is relatively easy and cost-effective to train to teach English.  There is no expectation of prior teaching experience or grammar knowledge and so equipping for the role of an English teacher is within the reach of most. Why not get started today?

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There are many ways to serve and reach people for Christ so if 'reaching and teaching' using English as a basis for outreach is of interest, contact us at Christian TEFL today. We'd love to chat through courses and outreach options with you. 


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How teaching English can be missional