French Language Program

Ecole Baptiste de Langue Française

A French Language Training Program for Missionaries and Students

An Intensive, Short-Term Semi-Immersion Program of Study

Primarily for Short-Term Missionaries, but others are welcome to apply


Next program dates: January 15 - February 23, 2018. Please apply before November 15, 2017.

For future program dates, please call 423 876-8150 and speak to Jennifer Bennecke.


Semi-immersion program

  • You agree to speak only French throughout the daily activities.
    • You sign the pledge!
  • Formal training in grammar, phonetics, reading and writing.
  • Practical aspects of Bible and church vocabulary, and for activities of daily living.
  • Conversational sessions focused on topics on the needs of missionaries.
  • Periodic French films, church services and prayer meetings.
  • Learn French choruses and hymns.
  • Lunch meals are part of the program most days for French conversation around the table.
  • Lodging available.
  • Affordable.


Planning to serve in a French-speaking country?

If you envision short-term missionary service or a mission internship in a French-speaking country, why not consider a brief language training program in French before your departure? We sponsor a short-term program that may suit your needs.


Our program operates twice each year at the Gartenhaus Training Center in Hixson, Tennessee.

The program

The school is a semi-immersion six-week program that focuses on practical needs for short-term missionaries, including basic listening, reading, speaking and writing skills, but with a practical emphasis on your needs on the mission field. The program includes basic grammar, phonetic and conversational skills up to an early intermediate level, combined with specific vocabulary for the Bible, evangelism, church services, music, and specialty areas such as construction or medical vocabularies. Women will have opportunities to develop skills in French related to children, shopping, cooking and serving meals among other things. We also cover every day conversational skills for activities such as travel, telephones, computers, driving, weather and time.

Ministry opportunities

Our program will work with you so that students are able to share a salvation testimony and call to ministry in French. While you are here, weekends are usually free, so that you can schedule deputation meetings during your stay, with many good independent Baptist churches available in the neighboring areas of Tennessee and North Georgia. During your stay, we will have one Sunday morning worship service in French, and a French prayer meeting once or twice at midweek. We also have a school chapel service on Fridays with an opportunity to learn French choruses and to listen to simple French Bible study or preaching. Students will be asked to give their testimonies in French during the last week of the program.

What will you study?

You can expect to learn:
  • Grammar
  • Vocabulary
  • Conversational Skills
  • Reading
  • Pronunciation
  • Writing

Supervised conversational sessions will help you to use your newly acquired French in practice. Immersion opportunities to hear and speak only French are offered with the daily lunch meal (required), and through special sessions with a topical focus. An online workbook is also a required part of the program that reinforces and allows you to complete exercises related to what you have learned. The workbook is essential and requires a substantial time commitment after hours. The course requires a 24/7 commitment for the six weeks.

Program director

Our director is Missionary John Lawrence (pictured, right, with his wife, Marilyn) who served in France from 1987-2002. Since 2004, he has served as Director of Ministries and Administrator of the Gartenhaus Training Center in Hixson, Tennessee with International Board of Jewish Missions. He holds an M.A. in French from The French School of Middlebury College in Vermont, having completed the academic program in Paris. He has taught as an adjunct instructor in French at Pensacola Junior College, Middle Tennessee State University, and is currently on the faculty at Chattanooga State Community College. Brother and Mrs. Lawrence are both graduates of the French immersion program at the Ecole de Langue Française in Albertville, France.


The language school is operated under the auspices of International Board of Jewish Missions.

Your Schedule

The program is rigorous, running Monday through Friday for a six-week period. Fridays begin with a chapel, followed by only a half day of classes. You will need to plan to arrive and get settled at the end of the week prior to the start of the course. One Sunday and one Wednesday during each term are devoted to French church services that you are expected to attend. Considerable time in the evening and on Saturdays will need to be devoted to completing the workbook and to memorization of the material, particularly vocabulary.


You will be required to purchase a textbook and a key to access the online workbook. You will need access to a Java-capable computer with a microphone and speakers for online resources and assessments. IBJM has a shared computer that can be available for your use.

Lodging and Cost

We have some limited facilities on our campus to lodge single individuals and couples. Families with children would need to locate off-campus housing, but we have some resources and will help you to do that insofar as resources permit. There are a great number of churches in the area, many with missionary housing facilities. We have identified a few short term rental possibilities. A “Home-Away” facility is nearby that has units with kitchen facilities. Early applicants will have the advantage.

The lunch meal during the week, Monday through Thursday, is an integral part of the program, since it involves the immersion aspect of sustained interaction with French speakers on-site. You will be responsible for your own breakfast and dinner, and all meals on weekends. No lunch meal is offered on Fridays. For those staying on campus, a kitchen is available for your use.

We make every effort to make lodging as affordable as possible. Please see the additional sheet which provides complete cost estimates for the program.

Contact Us for more information!

Download the brochure here.