Decoding the Campus
When you show up on campus to reach internationals, what should you do? We recommend that one of the first things you do is a little decoding, or spying out of the land. Check out Nehemiah 1:3-4, and Numbers 13:1,17-20 to get a picture of this.
The key is to get an understanding of what God is already doing and to sense what He might want to do, so we can cooperate with Him.
Top 10 Ways to Decode a New Campus:
1. Prayer walking: Praying on site with insight for God to work and for God to give us a vision, a burden, and ideas. Nehemiah (1:3-4) sat down and wept over the condition of his people. Similarly, the Holy Spirit can give you an emotional and spiritual burden for your campus.
2. Gather stuff: Collect maps, brochures, catalogues, and other info about the campus and about the international students and scholars there.
3. Get an escort: Find someone who knows the way around, with an insider’s view. Pray for this!
4. Look for Great Commission resources: God’s people are here! Look for Christian international students, churches that minister to a particular culture, or Christian faculty members. Just ask simple questions like, “Do you know any international students who go to a Bible study or church?”
5. Get pictures of the campus: Shoot pictures of the places where internationals tend to congregate. Maybe you’ll want to make a photo album
6. What’s it like to live here? Lodging, shopping, transportation. Do certain nationalities or cultures tend to live in specific dorms or apartments?
7. University life: Academic disciplines. Get a copy of the school calendar. What is the campus identity? Visit the International Student Office for this info.
8. Student life: What do international students do for fun? What sports, games, or hobbies are popular? What activities appeal to certain nationalities?
9. Cultures, worldviews and ideologies: Which ones are represented on campus? Use surveys and focus groups. Ask questions and listen.
10. Persons of Peace (Luke 10:1-12): Look for people like Lydia in Acts 16– people who are receptive to us and to our message, who might be used by God to reach their “oikos” (social web) and be the core of a future transformational community. Such a person may or may not already be a Christian.
“You meet one person and you meet a group.” When rejected, keep going.