How to Start an English Conversation Club

I’ve had some enquiries about how we started our English Conversation Club and how we run it. Here’s a quick overview.

Getting Started

We chose the Box Hill area because that’s where the right people are. I had a Shanghai person tell me it’s more Chinese than downtown Shanghai.

We meet at a local Lutheran church. There’s another group we helped get started that meets in a room in the public library.

We put up notices in shop windows and the public library.

We set up a Facebook page. People search the internet for Box Hill English Club and there we are.

Here’s an outline of what we do:

1. We choose a conversational topic. It’s not English lessons, but English conversation. We want them to practice speaking English around a topic we choose.

One week we did Australian Rules football. Melbourne is crazy for Aussie Rules. We got them talking in small groups about what they knew about the game. We even taught some basic football skills. We read a brief article on the history and rules of the game.

Another week we talked about Families. Their experience of family, families in Australia. Then we bridged to a family in the Bible and told the story of a father who had two sons — the parable of the prodigal son.

2. We take a break and mix over drinks and a snack. We get to know people. We find out their level of interest in the spiritual things. We provide help and practical advice on the challenges they are facing as new arrivals to Australia.

3. We do Discovery Bible study. When we can we link the theme of the earlier conversation with the passage. We use a simple, plain English version.

When we can we link the Bible story with the conversation theme. One time we talked about natural disasters that had recently occurred. The Bible story was Jesus calming the storm

4. We pray for needs in each small group at the end.

5. We follow up the people who want to learn more about Jesus. We meet with them and Discovery Bible study and at the right time, share a gospel a gospel outline. We serve in practical ways. One of our team members helps people learn to drive. My wife Michelle is great with job applications and coaching to pass English tests.

6. We make disciples and form new groups and new churches. We use the Following and Fishing material to lead new believers into discipleship and community.

7. We are growing a team who are trained in Following and FishingWhen I say “we,” I mean my wife Michelle who pioneered the ministry and continues to lead it. I’m on her team. 

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Steve Addison
Steve Addison is the author of Movements That Change the World, a calling to spark church planting around the world. He has been a life-long student of movements that renew and expand the Christian faith. Steve currently serves as director of Church Resource Ministries (CRM) Australia. He is married with four children and lives in Melbourne.