ALLEY — If someone wants to know about the need for English as a Second Language ministry, ask Robby Smith in Daniell Association.
His 50 churches are spread out in an association that is wider than it is tall, with about a two-hour drive from east to west. In two of the four main counties in which those congregations minister – Toombs and Montgomery – the percentages of individuals five years of age and above who speak a language other than English at home are 9.5 percent and 6.4 percent, respectively. Two other counties with a far smaller percentage of churches Emanuel and Evans – average 4.5 percent and 12.5 percent.
“Our association of 50 churches started three English as a Second Language (ESL) groups last year, which truly blessed our churches and community. In fact, one of the groups had two professions of faith and another had and additional person come to faith in Christ,” Smith notes.
The classes, in addition to having an evangelistic outcome, also helped residents begin to trust and relate to the churches in those communities. Smith adds that even those not attending the classes in their community “have shared their appreciation for our churches reaching out to their neighborhoods.”
Smith sees ESL as a valid and potent avenue to reach the large segment of its population who not only need to hear the gospel but need English to advance up the economic ladder. The classes, offered through the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, is one important way to bridge that and minister in the name of Christ, he says.
That’s why the Duluth-based Mission Board is hosting another ESL workshop in the Daniell Association’s office at 205 S. Railroad Street here in mid-July. The two-part workshop will be held on Saturdays, July 16 and 23, for six hours each day beginning at 9 a.m.
Completion of both sessions will lead to North American Mission Board certification.
The $35 fee includes the workshop manual and snacks; participants should bring their own sack lunch each day. Checks should be payable to Arbor Baptist Church with the memo line designating the funds to the “Literacy Missions Workshop.”
It should be noted that if the person named on the check is not the person registering, the name of the actual person attending should be noted. Checks should be mailed to Arbor Baptist Church/Literacy Missions Workshop, 1237 North Merrimac Drive Extension, Fitzgerald, GA 31750.
Registration should be received no later than Wednesday, July 6. For more information contact Joey Davis at (912) 246-5657 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to the People Groups website, there are 557 individuals within Alley’s four immediate Census Tracks who would benefit from improving their conversational English skills. Those language groups include Spanish (525), Arabic (24), German (3), French (2), and three other languages.
“God is truly using this ministry and I hope many will make plans to join us for training and begin hosting ESL classes in their community to reach them with the love of Christ. We are finding the quote of John Maxwell to be very true; People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
“Hosting ESL classes shows the community that the local church and Association really cares for people.”
Georgia Baptists in other parts of the state who may be interested in sponsoring similar workshops in their association can contact the Intercultural Church Planting and Missions Department at the Georgia Baptist Mission Board at (770) 455-0404 or toll-free (800) 746-4422.
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