Dare to Dream
An outward focus has long been emphasized at CrossPoint Alliance Church in Akron, Ohio, especially with Tim Feather at the helm, former Alliance missionary to Thailand. However, when the church’s Dream Incentive Grant proposal was accepted to boost outreach to local internationals, the harvest came right to their front door.
Bruce Lyman and his family moved to Akron to plant a church in 2006. Only 15 months later, the church closed its doors. Pastor Bruce wondered why God brought his family to Ohio, if not to plant a church, and he accepted a teaching position with a nearby Christian school. The school began taking short-term mission trips, and the Lymans volunteered in an English as a Second Language (ESL) program. Soon, teaching ESL became Pastor Bruce’s passion. In February 2014, he launched an ESL program at CrossPoint to reach the thousands of internationals in a three-mile radius of the church.
The Dream Incentive Grant was initiated by the Alliance in 2016 to “provide funding to help small to mid-size churches potentially realize an otherwise unattainable ministry ‘dream.’” When the program was announced at General Council, Pastor Tim immediately thought of their ESL program.
“Our vision for ESL is to be able to provide the most excellent teaching of English that we can and, in the process, provide other activities to build relationships with our students so they will give their lives to Christ,” Pastor Bruce shares.
With the objective to build the local church, the Dream Incentive Grant “…value(s) criteria such as outward focus, community service, and multicultural involvement…” CrossPoint’s ESL program was a perfect fit. Funds from the grant enabled the church to hire Pastor Bruce part-time to administrate the program and lead an ESL leadership team.
Staffed by dozens of CrossPoint volunteers, the program now serves hundreds of nearby internationals from 42 different nations. Beginning, intermediate, and advanced ESL classes are all available free of charge — students only pay for books. Additional classes in painting, cooking, jewelry making, Bible, and citizenship offer students more opportunities to practice their English and provide volunteers with opportunities to foster relationships with the goal of sharing the gospel. “We are always looking for ways to mention Jesus,” Pastor Bruce explains. “If we don’t include Christianity in the lesson, they won’t think it means anything to us.”
Other churches in the area have recognized the need that CrossPoint’s ESL program is meeting. Pastor Bruce is regularly approached with opportunities to encourage other churches and even other districts to begin similar programs. “Because of the Dream Grant, I feel a responsibility to share this vision with anyone I can.”
Pastor Bruce can recount a myriad of stories of individual lives touched with the gospel as a result of the ESL program equipped by the Dream Incentive Grant. Donations to the program are needed to enable the Alliance to help other churches fulfill their ministry dreams. Please consider this option for your Kingdom investment and partner with Alliance churches to reach the nations. Your tax-deductible donation can be made by check to: The Christian and Missionary Alliance, Attn: Donor Services, 8595 Explorer Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80920. Please write “Dream Incentive Grant” in the memo portion of your check.