Bridges is a model for English language classes that any local church can replicate. The Bridges model addresses every conceivable aspect of church-based ESL provision, from advertising for students to level testing, training up your teachers to setting up classrooms, choosing teaching materials to preparing for evangelism.
A number of churches have established Bridges-type classes in urban centres across the South East. Similar classes are starting further afield. Every set-up starts and develops differently as the particular social, economic and demographic variables within each local community are assessed. Perhaps evening classes may attract more working men, while day classes may draw more women, especially if crèche facilities are provided. Neighbouring local churches can co-ordinate classes too, some running at this time on that day, others dovetailing their classes to other times – sending and receiving students between classes according to their availability.
Whilst local churches must always have the final say about what their ministries look like, 2:19 strongly encourages a clear two fold provision. Firstly, the delivery of a high standard of English language teaching. This means training teachers in TESOL/CELTA or equivalent and teaching well from quality resources. Asking students to pay £1 an hour is a good way of maintaining high standards. Secondly, the provision of opportunities for developing relationships and sharing the gospel. Ultimately, we want to share the greatest gift of all to our students: the chance to hear about Jesus Christ.