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Teach to reach

Author: James Howard-Smith, 2 February 2024

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David and Maura are producing ESOL resources out of their heart for mission

Is your church running English classes for new arrivals in Britain?

David Baldwin from 2:19 Teach to Reach (two:nineteen) says that when it comes to outreach these days, teaching English is where most urban churches start. ‘Churches are asking how they can do this,’ David says. ‘So there’s a desire but it can be difficult knowing where to start. We want to bridge that gap.’

That’s why he and his team are producing ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) resources from a Christian perspective. You can buy six of their publications, which provide lesson plans and help to spark intercultural conversation, right here in our online shop.

It’s churches, even small ones, that are the engine for mission, in David’s view. ‘All big organisations ultimately serve the local church,’ he says. And he’s excited by the young church he’s recently joined since moving to Birmingham. ‘We’re the oldest in the congregation by about 20 years!’

Before Birmingham, he and his wife, Maura, ran an international outreach project at their church in Reading. And that came after 11 years in Ethiopia with Serving In Mission (SIM). So it’s all about cross-cultural mission for this couple, who are CEO (David) and Director of Operations (Maura) at two:nineteen, leading a team of five other staff members based around the country.

A huge thing two:nineteen has in common with Bible Society is a passion to reveal God’s big story of redemption and salvation that runs throughout Scripture. Their excellent lesson-plan resources, So Lord, Speak and So Lord, Speak 2, cover the Old and New Testaments, teaching lower-level learners the English needed to engage with the Bible. 

They’ve also produced, Start to Speak and So to Speak, which build foundational vocabulary for entry-level learners around topics such as seasons, family and travel. This practical focus is designed to connect up with the Bible-based content in the other two volumes. All four publications are full-colour, spiral-bound A4 books, built for classroom use, saving busy teachers lots of time prepping lessons.

There’s also a conversational resource called Utter Wisdom. ‘It’s a basic bridge work from English classes to discussing the gospel, using proverbs from around the world,’ David says. ‘Churches are loving it.’

‘We’re empowering people to reach out to the nations within their community. It’s become obvious in recent decades that UK churches need to add local cross-cultural ministry to missionary-sending. These resources are one way we can equip local church people for the intercultural encounters they need to be having.’

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