Are you befriending people from different cultures?
Are your friends interested in Jesus and the gospel?
Are you using the English language as a tool to reach the nations in the UK or overseas?
Rebekah Goff, part of the Unreached in the UK team at Redeemer Church and an English teacher at Open Doors International Language School (ODILS) in Plymouth, shares some resources she’s been using with her students and friends.
Over the past few years of being involved with reaching the nations in Plymouth, UK, through Redeemer Unreached ministry, I’ve gradually been asking myself the question, ‘as God opens doors in our cross-cultural friendships, how can we present God’s heart for our friends in an accessible and effective way?’
Through English teaching and conversations group, God’s blessed me with a small handful of friends from different nations, who are interested in hearing more about Jesus. Some of them have heard the name of Jesus before, some have previously visited churches, and some have never even had a friend who follows Jesus. They’ve all come from very different places, different backgrounds and different life experiences. They all have different levels of English. The one thing that unites us together is friendship and that the Holy Spirit has been speaking to them.
So, as we continue to disciple these friends, we’re hoping to start a church Life Group for these friends from the nations. Our hope is that this group will tell God’s big story to our English-learning friends, that it would act as a stepping-stone to integrate them into our wider church family and ultimately play a part in drawing them closer to Jesus.
With this in mind, I’d love to introduce 2:19 and some of their resources which we will be using in our Life Group.
2:19 – Teach to Reach
Ephesians 2:19: ‘Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household’.
Founded in 2013, by David and Maura Baldwin, 2:19 is a charity in the UK with a vision to ‘support churches in their English language outreach ministries by providing practical advice on setting up and running classes, producing high-quality English teaching and gospel outreach material, and offering training and support on cross-cultural communication and relationships.’
Coming across their resources and training has been very timely and inspiring for me.
So Lord, Speak
So Lord, Speak is a resource created for communicating God’s big story with those who have English as a second language – written with those with very low levels of English, in mind!
The book gives 10 key stories from the Old Testament, with simplified Bible story transcripts, attractive illustrations discussion questions, classroom activities and much more! These can be used within the English classroom or, as I will use them, as part of a Life Group Bible study.
This resource is excellent in it’s emphasis on story-telling, especially as story-telling is so much part of oral cultures. As I prepare to use this book in our Life Group, I’m so grateful to see how the authors have written the Bible story transcripts in a simple way whilst still remaining faithful to the meaning and accuracy of the stories. Each story builds on the previous story and reinforces key biblical themes. Each story also communicates the brokenness in our world, the brokenness in humanity and our need for a Rescuer.
I cannot praise this resource enough!
So Lord, Speak 2
So Lord, Speak 2, the sister book to So Lord, Speak, provides 15 key stories from the New Testament to help share the life of Jesus. Moving through this book, it again uses story-telling to share the ‘true story of Jesus Christ, God’s long awaited Rescuer.’
The format is very similar to So Lord, Speak and gives people the opportunity to see for themselves who Jesus is.
I’m certainly very excited to start using these two books with my friends. But I’m also excited to remind my heart of the simple yet profound Biblical truths I sometimes have a tendency to overcomplicate.
The two books can be purchased individually or as a bundle from 2:19’s resources page.
Another resource from 2:19 that I’ve already been using is their newly released Utter Wisdom book. This book is based on proverbs, to spark conversation with English learners.
The book contains:
- 60 teaching activities based on World Proverbs.
- 20+ ‘Bridge’ proverbs to guide conversation towards deeper topics of life.
- 5 sets of questions introducing some of the proverbs of Jesus.
These can be incorporated into formal English lessons, conversation groups and bible study groups.
So far, I’ve used the proverbs in this book as 20 minute ‘filler’ activities or if I need something to finish my lesson with. They’re a great way to give students the opportunity to practice speaking English in a relaxed way and many of the enable us to explore the worldviews across different cultures.
Outside of formal English classes – I’d love to use these proverbs in our Redeemer Unreached conversation group.
I wholeheartedly recommend 2:19 to you! These are just a few of their resources which are brilliant in so many ways! You can view these books and many more resources and training opportunities on their website: https://www.twonineteen.org.uk/