2:19 is from Ephesians chapter 2, where Paul addresses new believers in Ephesus. Coming from so many different cultural and religious backgrounds church might have been chaos! Or worse still, they might have divided off into mono-cultural congregations. But Paul reminds them that Christ, through his work on the cross, has brought them together in his church, made them one and preached to them his peace.
2:19 exists to help local churches embrace the nations by promoting Christian engagement between members of local churches and the international people in their communities.
Such engagement is encouraged through English language teaching activities and other means of stimulating gospel outreach and cultural integration. We place special emphasis on two different aspects – reaching out and integrating within.
2:19 has pioneered a successful model for running English language classes within churches that can address an ever-present need in the international community: Bridges. A lack of English can often prevent internationals from forming friendships, getting jobs and understanding the culture they live in.
As well as providing a much-needed service to these people, Bridges allows church members to build relationships within this community and offers a platform to advertise explicitly gospel-focused events. This model has already been implemented with great success at several churches in the UK and can be replicated in most church settings. To further aid this, 2:19 runs an annual English Teaching & Outreach Forum to allow individuals from churches and organisations involved in this type of outreach to meet together to train, share ideas and network.
Many churches in the United Kingdom find themselves unable to engage effectively with the international community due to a lack of knowledge concerning the people who have settled in our country from abroad. This often leads to fears and misconceptions.
In response, 2:19 provides a comprehensive series of Cultural Workshops designed to address these issues. Through these workshops, 2:19 hopes to equip people to understand and overcome the cross-cultural barriers that prevent them from reaching out to the international community by providing advice, education and biblical perspective. Just as prominent in these workshops is advice on how to make churches more welcoming and accessible to internationals, both in terms of language barriers, as well as a willingness to modify the culturally (not biblically) based aspects of our worship to include others.
In addition to these workshops, David is Director of Theology of Crossing Cultures at Oak Hill Theological College where he is able to equip the next generation of church leaders to overcome these cross-cultural challenges.