Actions which Build a Dynamic Movement

ACTIONS which build a dynamic spiritual movement (OVERVIEW)

1. Initiate evangelism combined with warmth and friendship.

Staff and students are building relationships and sharing Christ with an enlarging circle of international students on campus.

2. Disciple the international student to become a spiritual multiplier.

Discipleship assures the development of students as committed followers of Jesus, and the dynamic transfer of that commitment from one student to another.

3. Empower international students to take leadership in the movement.

Movement cannot result if students are not empowered to lead.

4. Create a strong sense of community for the international students through our meetings and events.

Gatherings which meet social needs also create momentum for both Christian and non-Christians to be gathered into the movement.

5. Mobilize others to contribute towards expanding the movement.

The campus, churches, and surrounding community provide critical resources and support for the movement.

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1. Initiate evangelism combined with warmth and friendship.

Staff and students are building relationships and sharing Christ with an enlarging circle of international students on campus.

It’s been said that evangelism is the lifeblood of a Christian movement.  Certainly this is so.  Not only is there great excitement as new converts get involved but those sharing their faith benefit as well.  When movements get ingrown and exclusive they cease to be movements.

Spiritually alive students are motivated to build friendships and share Christ, but motivation is not enough.

Effective training is the key. The best way to train your students in personal evangelism is to set the pace yourself.  Take them with you often as you share the gospel with others.  Study basic apologetics together with your students: 1) The claims of Christ;  2) The resurrection;  3) The reliability of Scripture;  4) Their personal testimony.  They will to master this material in order to be effective in their witness.

De-code the campus.  (Think strategically about the campus):

  • How do students congregate together?
  • What types of groups exist?
  • Who are the influencers?
  • What is the best way to reach out to various types of students?

The leaders in your movement will also want to take time together to dream and plan for broader outreach.  They will want to think strategically about reaching out to new groups of students.

Questions to consider about evangelism:

  1. Do the staff and students “see” the campus through God’s eyes and are they motivated by a heart for the lost?
  2. Are the students and staff team well trained to communicate the gospel clearly and effectively?
  3. Are the leaders setting the pace in personal evangelism?

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2. Disciple the international student to become a spiritual multiplier.

Discipleship assures the development of students as committed followers of Jesus, and the dynamic transfer of that commitment from one student to another.

Jesus modeled “true discipleship.”  Most strong discipleship ministries try to follow His example.  Jesus spent a huge amount of time with his men–one-to-one and in small groups.  We should be careful of discipleship models which depend too heavily on “meetings” and “events.”  They have a limited capacity to change lives.  Life-on-life mentoring is the key to discipleship.

Spiritual multiplication is a central goal from start to finish.  Even the initial challenge from Jesus to His followers–“Follow me and I will make you fishers of men”-contained an  imbedded vision for leading others.  Jesus spent time with his men AND equipped them for effective service.  This is true discipleship.

Mark 3:14 — “He appointed twelve– designating them apostles– that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach.”  (NIV)

Questions to consider:

  1. To what extent are you seeing life-change taking place and new leaders emerging in your movement as a result of discipleship?
  2. Are students being trained in God’s Word and are transferable truths being passed on from one student to the next?
  3. Are group leaders effectively challenging students to new levels of faith and commitment?
  4. Is momentum to attend training conferences increasing among students?

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3. Empower international students to take leadership in the movement.

Movement cannot result if students are not empowered to lead.

Most international students are well equipped to lead, but they must be empowered to do so.  They will rarely force the situation.  They often will wait to be invited into meaningful leadership roles rather than volunteer.  We should never think that limitations in their English or adjustments to a new culture disqualify them.  They come with incredible intellectual, social, and leadership skills and often are looking for a place to use these gifts.

In ministries that have full-time staff positions it’s good to aim at a “staff directed, student led” style of ministry.  When staff directed, we must empower the international students to lead-and this requires delegation.  In other words, you’re the coach; they are the players. They are on the field.

Here’s a good rule to follow: Never do ANYTHING a student could do (or be trained to do).

Questions to consider:

  1. Are qualified international students and scholars being equipped and empowered to lead in the movement?
  2. Do student leaders feel ownership for the movement at their campus?
  3. Are staff doing things in the movement that students could do?

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4.  Create a strong sense of community for the international students through our meetings and events.

Gatherings which meet social needs also create momentum for both Christian and non-Christians to be gathered into the movement.

Word travels fast among friends. Meetings and events that meet felt needs will generally gain momentum quickly.  Well-run events create a sense of community that is missed by most internationals who come to America.  Plan carefully the social dynamics of your meetings and events.  Give ample time for warm greetings and plenty of interaction.

The identity of the movement will largely be defined by its events.  Take time to ensure that the values and purposes of your movement are clearly reflected in these events.

Consistency and excellence are essential for high visibility.  This generally means planning well ahead.  Form small teams to design and conduct the larger venues.  Evaluate together afterward.  Keep making improvements.

Questions to consider:

  1. Is there a quality social dynamic among your students?
  2. Are the international students themselves welcoming new students and easily involving them in the movement?
  3. To what extent are the staff and volunteers connecting meaningfully with the international students and spending time with them outside of regular meetings and events?

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5. Mobilize others to contribute towards expanding the movement.

The campus, churches, and surrounding community provide critical resources and support for the movement.

We should be careful of thinking of the movement as an “island unto itself.”  The movement needs the surrounding campus and community just as the surrounding campus and community need the movement.  Churches located near the campus are often willing and able to contribute a variety of resources to help reach internationals.  Indeed, they often feel a strong sense of stewardship for the nearby campus and ministries associated with it.

The most obvious resources needed are money and manpower, but there are many other needs that churches or other community groups can help to meet.  Not only will your ministry will be strengthened by such involvement, but so will those who contribute.  They will grow in their vision and commitment to reaching the world for Christ as they get involved with the internationals in their hometown.

Questions to consider:

  1. Is there a growing team of staff, interns and volunteers who are filling various roles to reach internationals?
  2. Is there a strategy to recruit more workers?
  3. Are sufficient financial resources being developed to support the movement?
  4. Are involved students being connected to local churches?