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Starting an ESL Ministry

See the Need

Two students in ESL ClassIf your community is like most of the communities in North America, then the ethnic composition of your city or town is rapidly changing. You are seeing a variety of ethnic faces and hearing a multitude of languages other than English.

God has brought the World to our doorstep. What marvelous news for His Church! Through the ethnic diversity of America, God has made it even easier for us to obey the Great Commission of “making disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28)

How can we, the people of God, show His love to and share His Gospel with these new neighbors? An effective way is to offer them free English classes.

Get your Church Leadership on Board

Go to the appropriate leadership (i.e. Senior Pastor, Session, Mission Pastor, Mission Committee, Outreach Pastor) and share your vision of starting an ESL School in your church.

Assure them that you will “do your homework” before moving forward. This would be a good time to contact the MNA ESL Director for guidance.

Create a Prayer Base

Without prayer as the foundation, your ESL School will flounder. If your church has a regular prayer group, start asking them to pray ESL Classregularly for the creation of an ESL School in your church. Start e-mailing your friends on a regular basis with specific prayer requests regarding starting this ministry.

When we rely upon organization – we get what organization can do; When we rely upon education – we get what education can do; When we rely upon eloquence – we get what eloquence can do. And so on. But when we rely upon prayer – We get what God can do.

~ Dr A. C. Dixon

Recruit Volunteers
Students take notes at ESL Class

Try to recruit a minimum of seven people to get started. This will give you a Director and six teachers that could staff three classes (Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced fluency level classes – two teachers per class). The more volunteers, the more classes you can offer.

Volunteers need two basic qualifications.

  1. Love Jesus
  2. Speak English

They do not need to be professional teachers and they do not need to speak a foreign language (all of your classes will be English immersion). The ESL Teacher training will teach them everything they need to know.

In addition to teachers, it is helpful to have volunteers who will be classroom helpers, snack providers, childcare workers, etc.

Train the Volunteers

All of the volunteers you have recruited need to take a basic ESL Teacher Training Course (including the person who will be your Director).

MNA ESL has ESL Trainers who can come to your church. The host church is expected to cover the trWomen at ESL Classaveling expenses of the Trainer and provide a $300 honorarium. In addition, each participant will need a training manual ($25). For specifics on training, please ask for the ESL Training Instructions from the MNA ESL Ministries Director (nbooher@pcanet.org).

Sometimes you can send your volunteers to a training being offered at another church for $50 or less per person.

Trainings are 12 hours long and are usually done on a Friday night and all day Saturday format.

Make Necessary Decisions

  • Find a place to hold the classes
  • Determine the time and day the classes will meet (i.e. 7 pm on Wednesday nights)
  • Choose and order a curriculum (The ESL Teacher Training will show you many options. The MNA ESL Director can also give you guidance in this area.)
  • Decide how many classes (fluency levels) you will have and who will teach them

Internet/Social Media

  • Put information on your church website for potential students.
  • Create a Facebook page for your ESL School.
  • Find ethnic specific social media groups or WhatsApp groups where you could post information about your classes.

Put a large outdoor sign on the road near your church drivelway.

Create a brochure in easy English to advertise your classes. Always include the time and day of your classes adn a map to your church.

Distribute your brochure to places in your community where internationals can find them. For example:

  • International grocery stores
  • Leasing offices of apartment complexes where many internationals live
  • Regular grocery stores
  • Public libraries
  • Dry cleaners
  • Ethnic restaurants
  • Western Union offices

For a sample brochure, go to the ESL Startup Kit.

Start Your School

Some schools start slowly and build and others start with a bang. Either way, it’s what God has designed for you and your church. Lives will be touched, the Gospel will be proclaimed in words and deeds, and you will be part of God’s great plan to reach the nations.

Printable version of this page: How to Start an ESL School Brochure

A Basic Description of an ESL Ministry

Instructions for Scheduling an ESL Training

ESL School Starter Kit

ESL Training Promotional Flier

Updated on September 14, 2022

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