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April Bennett: Widening the Circle

April Bennett: Widening the Circle

April Bennett is spreading the gospel to many tribes, tongues, and nations without ever leaving the country.

April BennettApril coordinates and teaches English as a Second Language at Daniels Road Baptist Church in Ft. Myers, FL, where her husband, Erik (98, 09) is the senior pastor. Forty countries have been represented in the classes since the ESL ministry began a decade ago.

April, a BBC alumnus, earned a bachelor's degree majoring in Secondary Education English (99) and a Master of Education degree (11).

Erik and April have been married for 14 years and have two children, Titus (7) and Anna (5). The couple was previously involved in ministry near Fort Wayne, IN, where April taught high school English, and worked with developmentally disabled adults. She now teaches as an adjunct professor at BBC and serves as a teaching assistant for Ashford University.

With a heart for students, and a passion for teaching, April is impacting students across the country and around the world.

I placed my faith in Jesus Christ at age nine. I was in church and had questions about what happened after death. My mom took me out of the service and went through verses in Romans with me.

I wanted to attend a Bible college, having attended a public high school and carrying a desire to learn more about God's Word while pursuing a teaching degree. After visiting the campus, I was struck by the atmosphere. The student body seemed like a genuine family. After attending a class, I knew this was the college for me.

BBC helped me develop a biblical foundation and worldview as well as deepened my faith. Having a solid foundation based on God's Word has helped me meet challenges and deal with change in both ministry and teaching. BBC also emphasized critical thinking skills and the ability to learn. These skills have allowed me to pursue various avenues of education along with different ministries.

I value the teaching and training at BBC, and I especially appreciate the opportunities it provided for real life ministry and service. This included a mission trip to Japan and working with a prison ministry. Those opportunities taught me valuable lessons about ministry and working with people.

My husband is the senior pastor of Daniels Road Baptist Church in Fort Myers. My ministries involve teaching English as a Second Language, teaching Sunday night discipleship, leading in Sunday school, working with the ladies' ministry, and generally helping with whatever needs to be done. I love my church and feel blessed to be able to serve God's people.

My first exposure to an ESL ministry was on a mission trip to Japan. I was able to see how English classes provided an inroad to the community and helped to build relationships. When we came to DRBC, the church had already established an ESL ministry. I started teaching the advanced class and then moved into a leadership role. This ministry is a huge blessing to not only the church, but to me personally. It connects me to people from all over the world, to their cultures, and being able to share the Gospel with them. Also, as a former high school English teacher, it is refreshing to have students who actually want to learn grammar.

The vision for ESL is to see the ministry continue to grow, adding more classes and teachers, in order to reach more students with the gospel. I envision reaching out to area international students and providing classes specifically tailored to the language needs of college students and also see a need for classes for children. The ministry team and I are praying for God's direction to best use our time and resources to serve Him.

Daniels Road Baptist Church has been offering free ESL classes for 10 years. During that time, over 700 students from 40 countries have attended classes.

I advise people who are interested in an ESL ministry to observe a class.Many people think that because they have no formal training, they can't work in an ESL ministry. However, the great thing about an ESL ministry is if you speak English, you are qualified. The majority of students are working on conversation and pronunciation skills. Being able to talk with and listen to students is a great help. There are also boundless resources that provide training to teach ESL if a person is interesting in becoming more involved.

As an adjunct professor, I teach classes online for BBC. This involves posting notes and assignments along with facilitating discussions and providing feedback on assignments. I also answer student questions and help in any way to make the online classroom a great experience.

My favorite part of teaching is when a student makes an application from the content of the course to their life or ministry. I absolutely love teaching writing and literature because the skills and critical thinking involved in these disciplines are essential. When a student shares how the class has impacted them in that way, it makes my day. I also enjoy the personal connections that are made in class. It takes intention and effort, but I enjoy getting to know my students, developing a relationship with them, and getting updates on family and ministry from former students.


Learn more about the Secondary English Education program here.

Learn more about the Master in Education program here.


Contact Info
Email abennett@bbc.edu.


Baptist Bible College & Seminary offers an outstanding Christian education through on-campus, online, and other distance learning options. Students go beyond the ordinary, learning to serve with excellence as they gain critical leadership and life skills.

To learn more, go to www.bbc.edu or call 570.586.2400.

Posted on: 5/6/2013 4:34:45 PM

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