Beginning to trust a Christian is often the first step that many non-Christian internationals take towards Christ after coming to the States. Christian internationals also need friends who are older and wiser to mentor them or to lead a small group. Whatever the need, Friendship Partners are key.
If you have a spiritual gift of Pastor, Teacher, or Evangelist, are faithful, persistent, or even an introvert, then this may be a great way for you to plug in! To get involved in any way that God has gifted you, go here and email the appropriate staff worker in order to discuss how you might be able to partner. Friendship Partners invest in students or a small group of students. This could be having a conversation partner or leading a Group Investigating God (GIG). They will build relational trust and practice evangelism, discipleship, hospitality, and leadership.
Possible Partnership Activities:
Leading a GIG
InterVarsity is passionate about introducing non-Christians to Jesus through the Scriptures. We believe that the Word has power through the Spirit to work in their hearts long before they know Jesus personally. GIGs are a great way to provide the space for international students to encounter God-both for those who are just curious about Jesus or Christianity and those who are already seekers. GIGs tend to be short-term commitments 4-12 weeks. This way, the leaders can discover those who are true seekers and then continue to invest in their journey one-on-one or in a smaller group.
Being a Language Partner
Not every international student needs help with their English, but many do and it is a great way to get to know one or two students and to serve them in a very practical way. You’ll also enjoy times over tea or coffee, having them over to visit with your family, or the occasional outing. You’ll need to check with your local International Student Ministry chapter to see if they have a program, however, many or even most colleges and universities have a language partner program in which you could potentially get involved.
Leading a Small Group
Not every International Student Ministries chapter has capable student leadership (yet) for developing a small witnessing community engaged in Scripture and taking risks to follow Jesus together. You could be a great asset by leading a small group and helping to raise up a student leader. It is very rewarding to see how God’s Word is truly alive and active in the hearts of Christian internationals as they invest in their own spiritual growth through small group participation.
Discipling International Students
There is little more rewarding than investing in an international student by helping to set them up for a lifetime of faithful witness. You need to develop a deep relationship and understanding of their home culture, religion, and context in order to do this well. Our hope is always that they will learn to encounter God on their own, to take risks as they follow Jesus, and to grow in their leadership. In this way, your investment will multiply in ways you cannot even imagine. See discipleship tools here.
Spiritual Conflict and Prayer
The battle is real, and perhaps especially so when God’s heart for the nations is at stake. You will want to be in prayer for yourself, your family, and for your international students. Here are some helpful thoughts and a guide to aid you along the way.