By George Durance
A distinguished educator, newly acquainted with TeachBeyond, visited our Downers Grove, Ill., office recently. When our host introduced her to me, she immediately interjected, “I’ve heard of you.”
Most people use this phrase as an icebreaker. She didn’t. There was no smile, no laugh, and no invitation to a rejoinder. It was not me she had heard about, but TeachBeyond.
I realize that I am frequently hearing this wherever I travel. Nine years ago, when we changed our name from Janz Team to TeachBeyond, all I heard was, “What’s TeachBeyond?”
What is it the public is hearing about TeachBeyond and what does it mean?
I suspect it means primarily that they have heard of what we do. At the highest level, they know we are asking God for the transformation of all the learners in our sphere of influence. At a more immediate level, they may be thinking of the kind of activities we are praying about for 2018.
Here are some of the organization-wide initiatives I have on my heart and in my prayers.
- An outpouring of His Spirit on 28 English camps and English Intensives in 2018
- Many new and expanding educational facilities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Dominican Republic, Mexico, France, Germany, Switzerland, Turkey, India, Bangladesh, Southeast Asia (several), and Indonesia
- A complete renovation of our beautiful program center in Gramado, Brazil and new property for expanded ministry in the nearby region
- The founding of a new company that will greatly expand our English language teaching program using a business platform
- A major partnership in central Africa
- New educational projects in Argentina and Central America
- A platform from which we can provide educational services in Canada and the United States
- A broadened array of educational and administrative support services in every service department and in every region
- A net increase of 100 team members around the world
- A kindergarten in Germany as a “door opening” initiative into school services in Germany
- A successful launch of an educational service for refugees based in Lesvos, Greece
- The growth of the Leadership Center in Germany to the point where it supports all our projects
- The birth of a new school in Bangui, several in south Asia, one in the old Soviet sphere, and others recently started that are growing to maturity in the next few years
- A deeper transformation that leaves all our educators, learners, organizations, and communities more like Christ
So, what do people mean when they say, “I’ve heard of you”? Is it this list of 14 initiatives – all the dreams and hopes we are pursuing? Or is it Number 15 – who we are becoming?
I pray this is a false dichotomy, and that everywhere we are becoming the fragrance of Christ through what we do and who we are.