Many international students involved in Christian community are not part of an international-specific group. These tips provide some examples for how groups without an international focus can better reach their group members.
Tell the entire chapter about the needs of international students and the potential of international ministry. Pray for everyone to seek out friendships with at least one international.
Partner with the International Students and Scholars Office to plan events. This could help provide situations where students can bring international friends without feeling like they are being pushed into Christian events.
At large group, find creative ways to integrate international ministry. Have a regular time to focus on internationals – maybe start with once a month. Ask Christian internationals to share their testimonies. Introduce a brief prayer time for the countries your students come from. Invite internationals to teach a song in their native language. Have students speak to the benefits of cross-cultural friendship. Focus at least one large group a year on internationals. It will give your students a new perspective on the world! Talk about what Christians experience in other countries, and maybe discuss what the IFES movement there (if there is one) is doing.
Bring up the importance of international ministry within all facets of InterVarsity. Having a prayer meeting for new students? Pray about the culture shock internationals go through. Reminding everyone about what’s happening after the holiday break? Remind them also that internationals love to see American homes for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Planning your small group? Think about how to welcome an international to your dorm room, or what translation of the Bible might be best to use. Saying goodbye to students for the summer? Along with all the Global Treks and Urban Projects, also tell them to seek out the students who stay in the US over the break.
These are just a few ideas on how to engage the internationals in your chapter. Have you done other things that worked well? Let us know!