By Claudean Boatman, CBGC Consultant and National Literacy Missions Partnership Coordinator
Literacy missions ministries provide local church volunteers natural opportunities to share the Gospel while meeting a basic human need. Training is available for churches wishing to begin ministries to help internationals speak English, to help children succeed in school, or to teach adults to read better. The 11-hour workshops include instruction on sharing the Gospel with the students.
During the 2015-2016 ministry year, 31 individuals were trained to begin or join English as a Second Language (ESL) ministries. About half of those trained were from other denominations or from non-denominational churches—one even came from Washington State to Denver for the training. Of the remaining participants, two new ministries have been established in Colorado Springs. Our prayer is that more Colorado Baptists would seek God’s heart for the nations who are living in our state and desire to begin ministries that allow them to share the Gospel with internationals.
Literacy missions volunteers came together at Mississippi Avenue Baptist Church, August 12-13, for the Literacy Missions State Conference. Counting both paid registrations and leaders, 35 people participated. The weekend of basic workshops for new volunteers and extended learning sessions for experienced ministry volunteers also featured an evening worship time and an interactive prayer room. Three volunteers from the California Baptist Convention accepted our invitation to attend. The number of instructional hours by the number of participants resulted in an estimated 243 hours of training. About15 hours of prayer took place over the course of the weekend as participants and visitors used the interactive prayer room.
Colorado was also able to assist New Mexico by providing an ESL Basic Workshop Leader for a training in Alamogordo after their trainer had to cancel. Andrea McClure agreed to go with less than two weeks’ notice and provide up-to-date NAMB training. That workshop resulted in one person who has attended the National Leadership Workshop to become a trainer for her association.
In Colorado, we provide up-to-date Basic Workshops. Training is led by NAMB-certified Basic Workshop Leaders. Each Basic Workshop includes an emphasis on using these ministries as vehicles for sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Colorado is blessed to have three ESL leaders, one Tutoring Children and Youth leader, and one Adult Reading and Writing leader. One of our Tutoring Children and Youth leader has moved to Mississippi.
Our prayer is multi-faceted. We are asking for God to give Colorado Baptist churches a heart for internationals who need to learn to speak English. We’d like God to identify potential trainers in underserved areas of our state. We are asking God to show churches who have relationships with schools to understand how the Tutoring Children and Youth Basic Workshop training can enhance their ministries.