Evangelism Code of Ethics

When working with international students, it is very important that you respect their culture and beliefs. Do not force yours onto them! This only serves to widen the culture gap, cause mistrust between internationals and Americans, and break relations with the university you work on. InterVarsity and NAFSA have written codes of conduct and ethics, which we encourage all InterVarsity staff, volunteers, and students follow. 

InterVarsity Code of Ethics for Christian Witness

As Christians called by the Living God, we seek first of all to honor him and his ethical standards in all our private and public lives, including our efforts to persuade others to believe the good news about Jesus Christ.

As Christian evangelists, we seek to follow the mandate, motives, message, and model of our God who is always pursuing and reclaiming those who are lost in sin and rebellion against him.

We believe all people are created in God’s image and therefore endowed with the capacity to be in relationship with their Creator and Redeemer. We disavow any effort to influence people in such a way that depersonalizes or deprives them of their inherent value as persons.

Respecting the value of persons, we believe all people are worthy of hearing the gospel of this loving Lord Jesus Christ. We equally affirm the inalienable right of every person to survey other opinions and convert to or choose a different belief system.

We believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and affirm the role and goal of the Christian evangelist. However, we do not believe that this justifies any means to fulfill that end. Hence, we disavow the use of any coercive techniques or manipulative appeals that bypass a person’s critical faculties, play on psychological weaknesses, undermine relationship with family or religious institutions, or mask the true nature of Christian conversion.

While respecting the individual integrity, intellectual honesty, and academic freedom of all other believers and skeptics, we seek to proclaim Christ openly. We reveal our own identity, and purpose, our theological positions, and sources of information, and will not be intentionally misleading. Respect for human integrity means no false advertising, no personal aggrandizement from successfully persuading others to follow Jesus, and no overly emotional appeals that minimize reason and evidence.

As Christian evangelists, we seek to embrace people of other religious persuasions in true dialogue. That is, we acknowledge our common humanity as equally sinful, equally needy, and equally dependent on the grace of God we proclaim. We seek to listen sensitively in order to understand, and thus divest our witness of any stereotypes or fixed formulae that are barriers to true dialogue.

As Christian evangelists, we accept the obligation to admonish anyone who represents the Christian faith in any manner incompatible with these ethical guidelines.


NAFSA Statement of Ethical Principles

"NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the leading organization committed to international education and exchange, working to advance policies and practices that build global citizens with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in today's interconnected world," according to their website. They are not affiliated with InterVarsity. Their Statement of Ethical Principles was updated in March 2019 and can be found here.

Transparency is one principle that gets cited often. Christian groups need to be open and honest about who they are and accurately describe events in their publicity. Religious content should be publicized; an hour-long dinner that includes a 20-minute message on the Bible needs to disclose the Christian content and not be advertised solely as a free dinner.