They begin each adult English (ESL) class with prayer and a short testimony or devotion. When Dale’s turn came, he told the students about how Jesus changed his life and how church was important to him. Then he asked each student, “Do you have a church home?” Some go to the Catholic church down the road, and one is Jehovah’s Witness, but some don’t have a church home—including Nancy.* So Dale asked Nancy a follow-up question: “What would it take to get you to come to a white person’s church?”
Nancy answered simply, “An invitation.”
Dale looked her in the eye and said, “I would love for you to come to church here.” Nancy has been to Village Church on a few Sunday mornings now, and all it took was for someone to ask her.
Village Church began their adult English classes on March 22, 2021—the day after their official church launch. Three months later, a Spanish Bible class was emerging from the English class. They meet on Sunday mornings before the church service and study the same Bible passage as will be preached later. Thus, the ESL students have a chance to learn biblical truth in both their heart language and their new-home language.
Launching an adult English program at the same time as a church plant presented some challenges! Volunteers were scarce at first, but as the church grows, the number of volunteers grows as well. They also struggled with choosing days and times for classes because they didn’t yet know the community well. Now, they’re considering a weekend class for those who work through daylight hours. In every challenge, God has been faithful to provide solutions, and the blessings just keep pouring in…mostly in the form of new friendships. Chase, a church leader (and also a English class volunteer), said, “I can’t imagine where the church would be without our adult English class—just the relationships we have formed already.”
READY TO GET INVOLVED?
English classes are a simple, non-threatening way to bring internationals into your church’s circle of influence. These classes change not only the lives of the language learners but also the lives of the volunteers who befriend them! Here at KIN, we’d be happy to have a conversation about what it takes to start (or restart) an ESL program. Contact us and ask for our handy, one-page ESL Start-Up Guide, so you’ll know what’s involved.
We also place individual volunteers with other churches when needed. So, if you’re ready but your church isn’t quite there yet, learn how to volunteer or email us and let us know you’re interested.
*Names have been changed for privacy.
Watch God work!
God is at work through KIN in metro Knoxville! Explore these stories of churches, volunteers, and others representing Jesus among our international friends and neighbors. You may recognize a situation or place.