English Mission School (EMS) is a children’s programme devised for Hosanna Church in Busan, South Korea by Shirley DeMerchant and Park Eun Sook.
The purpose of EMS is ‘through English to educate and inspire elementary-age children with the Word of God, with the intention of producing future missionaries’.
The original programme was a familiar Sunday School format with singing and Bible lessons presented in English rather than the children’s first language. Alex & Tracey Banks and Kim Hye Jean, added a mission syllabus that alternated with the Bible syllabus over the two years.
This article presents the mission component of EMS. While designed for Koreans with a focus on learning English, as well as about mission, the authors believe that EMS can be adapted to suit any context as a tool to raise awareness of mission among children.
- To understand the terms cross-cultural, missions and missionary, and the roles that each play within the Church.
- To learn about other nations, people groups, and cultures.
Not to fear different ways of thinking, being or doing.
- To nurture compassion for unreached and needy people groups. Children to know how they can be involved in meeting these needs now and in the future.
- Children to have a strong, personal faith in God and a desire to serve Christ and his Church.
Each class is named after a country. Where possible use the countries your church’s missionaries work in.
Class country focus for missions studies in cultural contexts
The country focussed class names provide the cross-cultural background against which missions themes are studied. For example, when looking at ‘Other religions’, students in the Malaysia class could study Islam and its influence on Malaysia. Whilst thinking about ‘Sacrifice’, students in the Ecuador class could study the life of Jim Elliot and the outreach to the Waorni.
Interaction with active missionaries
Classes should try to adopt a missionary from their focus country. The children can then receive newsletters from, communicate with, and pray for the missionary. Classes wishing to go the extra mile can arrange to speak to their missionary in person, by phone or online.
Parents involvement in missions through homework assignments
Homework is designed to get parents involved in the activities and to provoke thought about missions beyond the local church. For instance, following the lesson on ‘Sacrifice’, the homework invited children and parents to discuss what sacrifices their family might have to make to become missionaries. Students then shared feedback in a future lesson.
The EMS programme continues to be well received in Hosanna Church because it integrates two great passions within the Korean Church: missions and English. However, the ultimate success of the EMS programme can only be assessed by the number of Koreans encouraged to act on what they learn under the leading of the Spirit. The authors hope that the influence of EMS may spread beyond Korea, and that others would catch the vision of this programme. The four themes and their teaching points are available from omf.org/uk/resources.
English Mission School contributors
Alex & Tracey Banks (OMF, Australia)
Shirley DeMerchant (OMF, Canada),
Kim Hye Jean and Park Eun Sook (Hosanna Church, Busan)