Start an ESL Program


So you want to start an ESL program in your church – where do you start? Here are a few things to think about and ways Cooperative ESL Ministries can help:

Is your church prepared?
multiculture-crossStarting an ESL program in your church requires the whole congregation’s support and involvement. Newcomers (immigrants, refugees, temporary foreign workers, international students, etc.) can go to an ESL class and learn English, but to feel a sense of community, a church congregation must be willing to welcome and embrace ESL students.

A church needs to prepare in several ways:

  1. Cooperative ESL Ministries offers several training events throughout the year, including an intensive 30-Hour ESL Training for Church Volunteers in the Fall called Reaching out with English. To learn more about our training events, visit our Annual Training page.
  2. Church congregations need to be informed about cultural issues so they can show hospitality to ESL students. Cooperative ESL Ministries offers 3-hour Intercultural Workshops to all Calgary churches. For more information, visit our Intercultural Communication page.
  3. Churches need to know about immigrants in Calgary! See Cooperative ESL Ministries’ Immigrants in Calgary fact sheets for an overview of current immigration trends in Calgary.
How will your church reach newcomers?

Once you have trained an ESL teacher and prepared your congregation to welcome Newcomers, you will also have to think about how to spread the word about your ESL program. Consider putting an ad in your church’s local neighbourhood newspaper. If your church has a website, add information on your ESL program to the site. It’s also a good idea to list your ESL program in the ESL Directory produced by Immigrant Services Calgary. This organization is one of the largest immigrant-serving agencies in Calgary.

You can also list your ESL program on our website. Our directory of church-based ESL programs provides contact information for all churches offering ESL classes, Bible studies, conversation groups, et cetera.

Consider Investing in Cooperative ESL Ministries

Your investment will help support Cooperative ESL Ministries’ mission to empower churches to reach out in love through ESL to the immigrants and internationals in our community.

Cooperative ESL Ministries is a charitable organization and needs the help of Calgary’s Christian community to reach out to those immigrants, refugees, and other Newcomers trying to integrate into Canadian society. By supporting Cooperative ESL Ministries, your church will contribute to the growing needs of Calgary’s Newcomers, showing God’s love by dissolving barriers and building community. For more information visit our donate page.