July 2024 New Horizons

Current Issue

Teaching English Like a Servant

Download PDFDownload ePubArchive

Teaching English Like a Servant

Language barriers are awkward. As the pastor of a church with an English as a Second Language (ESL) Ministry, I’m familiar with the difficulty of speaking with people who don’t know my native language. Almost every week, someone knocks on the front doors to our church and greets me with words I don’t understand: “ Disculpe, ¿cuándo son sus clases de inglés ?” This time, the Hispanic gentleman asking the question is pointing to our sign, which promotes free English classes. I know he’s speaking Spanish because I studied Spanish in high school. I can’t talk with him, though, because I didn’t pay much attention in high school Spanish. (I thought pastors only needed to know Greek and Hebrew?) I pull out my iPhone, fumble to my “Google Translate” app, and start speaking in awkwardly loud English: “Hello, my name is Pastor Tyler. It’s nice to meet you! We would love for you to come to our English lessons here at the church on Tuesday evenings. Classes begin at 6:45 p.m. They are ... Read more

Developing Relationships Through ESL

“Affection and appreciation” was the phrase that most stood out to me in recent conversations with friends who have been involved in English as a Second Language (ESL) ministries. Now, perhaps you were expecting to read here about how to teach grammar rules or pronunciation. It’s not to say that those are never part of the process of acquiring English, but for both learners and instructors in many ESL ministries, developing relationships was by far the most significant part of their experience. These ESL instructors have found through years of interacting with learners the very thing that linguists have “discovered” through formal research: a positive interpersonal environment helps people learn better, in part by reducing the sort of anxiety that can hinder language acquisition. You may want to create such a supportive environment but not know where to begin. Let me share from the experiences of a few different ESL program participants at Resurrection OPC in Westminster, California; at ... Read more

ESL Resources from Mission to North America

Nancy Booher’s first encounter with English as a Second Language (ESL) ministry was modest: almost thirty years ago, two friends at her PCA church in Maryland told her that they needed another ESL teacher come fall and asked her to please take the training. She did. She did not like it. She committed to teach for one semester and then planned to exit. But once classes started, Booher said, she fell in love with the students. Now director for nineteen years of the PCA’s ESL Ministry through Mission to North America (MNA), Booher works to provide churches with better training than she received so that they can show Christ’s love to their international neighbors. She, with the help of other volunteers, has compiled a sort of model for how to run ESL classes as a ministry of Reformed churches. While local churches may differ in the extent to which they adhere to the model, her work provides a starting point that at least two OP churches—Light of the Nations in Dayton, Ohio, (see this ), and Harvest ... Read more


+1 215 830 0900

Contact Form

Find a Church