First Steps Chart
This chart gives tips on how you can begin ministering to one or more international students. (Most of the suggestions are aimed toward one-to-one relationships but can be adapted for group interaction.) The left-hand column shows a step in ministry; the right-hand column gives specific suggestions for that step.
“FIRST CONTACT” Meet international students at ministry activities or in a way-of-life setting
- Introduce yourself. Write or spell your name.
- Ask for friend’s name. (When appropriate, write the name correctly and phonetically, to aid future pronunciation.)
- Ask general questions (and offer your info) on:
- Home nation, home city, earlier education
- Family background
- “So far, how do you feel about your life in America?”
- “What is most different?”
- Exchange phone numbers and e-mail addresses.
- Begin to pray for your friend(s).
“RAPPORT & TRUST” Certain activities may help you to establish a friendship
- Meals are great—especially in your home. Be careful of buying meals at restaurants, since your friend(s) may feel required to return the favor.
- Sports activities help to quickly build friendship and trust? ping pong, volleyball, badminton, soccer, basketball, “instructional touch football.”
- Other “language-easy” activities include baking/cooking, concerts and certain games.
- Day trips or overnight trips provide lots of time with your international friends.
- Look for real needs that your international friends have such as help with moving, shopping, transportation, etc.
“TRANSITION TO SPIRITUAL” In conversation, speak freely and naturally about spiritual things
- Expect it to be easy to mention God, religion, the Bible with most nationalities. Many internationals are interested in your faith. But don’t “preach” or make this your only topic!
- Realize that he/she may not understand basic terms like “Christian”, “New Testament,” “saved”
- Ask questions to find out prior knowledge and whether he/she has interest in the gospel:
- What is your religious background?
- Did you ever have any Christian friends in your country? Have you ever attended a church?
- Have you met Christians here in America?
- Have you ever read the Bible? Do you know the basic message of the Bible?
“INTRODUCE THE GOSPEL” Begin to share the Good News
- Share how you came to follow Christ and what He has done in your life. Again, be sure to explain in every-day English, not “Christian cliches.”
- Ask if he/she would like to know the basic ideas of the Christian faith. If so, use a bilingual gospel presentation.
- Have literature available which will be attractive and clear to your international friend (bilingual New Testament, JESUS video in his language, etc.). Contact New Life Resources at 800-827-2788 for at www.campuscrusade.com to get materials.
“CONTINUE IN YOUR OUTREACH” Your friendship and conversation can be on-going!
- Sharing the gospel with international students is not a “one-time event”. They will have even more questions to resolve than some Americans…perhaps even including the existence of God.
- Continue including your friend in your life and activities.
- Ask if he/she has questions from previous conversations or from materials you have given him to read. Solicit questions? Many internationals are so polite that they may hesitate at first. As you answer, write down key points or Scripture references to aid comprehension or later review.
- Consider doing an evangelistic Bible study with individuals or group. The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus at www.goodseed.com, Foundations for Faith at http://www.foundationsforourfaith.com/, or a book of the Bible.
“FOLLOW-UP” Help new believer(s) to grow
- If your friend trusts Christ, use simple, clear follow-up material. www.godsquad.com
- Encourage your friend to participate in a local church. Also, if possible involve him/her in a special fellowship group.
- As your friend grows in faith, plan to invite him/her to a discipleship conference hosted by a ministry to international students.