Your church can be involved in literacy missions, to help meet the needs of internationals in your community through English as a Second Language, designed to build relationships with international college students, refugees and other immigrants. As churches help them gain a valuable skill — speaking English better — church members can naturally share Jesus Christ.
Why Literacy Missions?
In September 2013 The Huffington Post reported that a study by the US Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy, revealed approximately 32 million adults in the United States are not able to read. This equates to 14 percent of the US population. Twenty-one percent of adults in the United States read below a fifth-grade level and 19 percent of high school graduates can't read at all.
Based on recent statistics from the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, 14 percent of adult Americans demonstrated a "below basic" literacy level in 2003, and 29 percent exhibited a "basic" reading level. That said, according to The Huffington Post, the current literacy rate isn't any better now than it was 10 years ago. According to the Department of Justice, "The link between academic failure and delinquency, violence and crime is welded to reading failure." The stats back up this claim: 85 percent of all juveniles who interface with the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate, and more than 70 percent of inmates in America's prisons cannot read above a fourth-grade level, according to BeginToRead.com. Economic security, access to healthcare and the ability to actively participate in civic life all depend on an individual's ability to read. (See www.namb.net/send-relief/literacy-ministry.)
English as a Second Language (ESL) ministries share the gospel while teaching internationals how to speak English. Church-based ESL ministries
- meet a specific, felt need — the need to speak English
- help the student develop skills necessary for functioning effectively in North America
- begin and nurture lifelong friendships
- reach multiple people groups, including those from closed countries
- share Jesus with internationals who may not have other opportunities to hear the gospel
- often result in new ethnic or language congregations
Adult Reading & Writing
Adult Reading and Writing tutors share Christ while assisting English-speaking, low-level readers. People with limited literacy skills have difficulty
- reading a bus schedule
- using an ATM machine
- completing a job application
- reading the Bible.
A church-based ministry helps adult low-level readers improve their ability to read and write, and provides Christians an opportunity to obey Christ’s command to love and meet needs of our neighbors.
Tutoring Children and Youth
Tutoring Children and Youth (TCY) ministries are designed to share Christ with children and youth while helping them build academic skills needed for school success. The ministry
- helps a child or youth with homework
- grows positive self-esteem
- increases his or her sense of worth
- builds trust relationships with the whole family
- provides a reason to do so for students who do not attend church
- demonstrates Christ-like concern
Students are more open to hearing and carefully weighing the gospel when it is presented by a tutor who has invested time to help them do well in school.
Starting A Literacy Missions Ministry
- Pray about the needs you see.
- Decide which ministry God wants your church to participate in.
- Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 559-256-0853 for more information about upcoming training opportunities, or to contact Diane Varady, literacy missions coordinator.
- Attend a NAMB-developed "basic training workshop" to be certified to begin and lead a literacy missions ministry.
- Begin the ministry.