USA (MNN) — Churches around the United States are looking for ways to reach out to their communities. With the large number of people immigrating to the U.S., why not start a ministry to help them learn English? Not sure how to begin?
For the 9th year in a row, Cornerstone University is hosting their English as a Second Language (ESL) ministry conference April 17 in Grand Rapids, MI. Cornerstone's Director of TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) Program Dr. Michael Pasquale: "Part of our outreach to our community is to offer this annual conference to equip our local churches to reach out to their neighbors who do not speak English as their first language."
This year's theme is Building Lives That Matter. Pasquale says ESL is more than just about teaching English. "It's not just about preparing grammar lessons, but it's to build into their lives — to pray for them, to reach out to their neighbors and their communities so that ultimately their lives are built up."
Pasquale says there will be two different kinds of workshops at this year's one-day conference. One will focus on the practical ways of teaching English. The other will focus on how churches can connect with other churches, ministries or organizations to make their ministries more effective.
He says this kind of ministry is important for the local church. "I think it's a core of what the church needs to do. We are to reach out to the world and make disciples of all nations, and it's not just for the church to go overseas. But when the world comes to us, we have an obligation to share with the world right at our doorstep."
Dr. Joe Stowell will be the keynote speaker of this year's conference. He was the featured speaker at an international conference of ESL teachers in Chaing Mai, Thailand, last year, sponsored by the English Language Institute of China.
Pasquale says, "We hope to build off of last year's record attendance: we had over 150 people."
Early bird registration is $50 ($30 for students) through April 1. You can register online at http://www.cornerstone.edu/esl. The conference will be held on the campus of Cornerstone University, 1001 E Beltline NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525.