USA (MNN) — Cornerstone University is providing tools to help local churches develop programs for a specific kind of outreach — Teaching English as a Second Language. They're doing that with their 8th annual ESL Ministry Conference to be held April 4 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Michael Pasquale is associate professor of linguistics and the director of the Master of Arts in TESOL at the university. "We've designed this conference to prepare churches to use ESL as a ministry outreach to their communities. It will feature speakers to help implement ideas to help strengthen the effectiveness of an ESL ministry."
This year's theme is Invitation to Interaction. "Special topics, themes and workshops are all to help engage your students to interact in class, but not just interact in English," says Pasquale. "We want to see churches interact with the community with the goal of sharing Christ."
Cornerstone is expecting up to 150 people to attend this year. Pasquale says this is the kind of ministry that could be effective for every church in the United States. "It's not just the urban areas; it's even the rural communities, and it's surprising to some to see that. But churches across the board can use this to reach their neighbors for Christ."
Cornerstone's ESL conference has been an example to other conferences. "A few have actually started because of our conference. They saw the value in it and decided to do it themselves."
Pasquale is asking people to pray for the conference, as well as the ESL ministry as a whole. "Pray that our students would be open. Sometimes it doesn't happen as quickly as we all would like, but I always pray that my students would learn English and that they also would have their hearts open to the Gospel."
The day-long Conference will be held on the campus of Cornerstone University. The cost is $50, and only $30 for students. Information is available at http://www.cornerstone.edu/academics/tesl/esl_conf. You may also call (616) 949-5300 and ask for Michael Pasquale.