Where to Look for Ministry Leaders
It takes a viable team of motivated people to effectively launch and sustain a movement to internationals. It can’t be done by one or two people. If you have been captured by the vision of reaching internationals at a nearby campus, then your very first step–after you spend time in prayer–is to begin to put together a team of ministry leaders.
An effective ministry team can be built with people from many life situations. There is no ideal age or station in life from which our leaders will come. On many campuses, the leader is an undergraduate student active in a campus ministry -or there is a leadership team of such students. On other campuses, leaders could include a church elder, a 70-year-old retired couple or a mom with teenagers. God is using people of all ages and backgrounds. But the following “pools” have the greatest potential for providing local leaders:
- Motivated American undergrads and grad students. Many students have a heart for reaching internationals. Perhaps they have been overseas on summer projects or longer stints in other nations. They have caught the vision to help reach the world. And many have built-in opportunities to meet internationals-in classrooms, in labs, in housing situations or through campus activities.
- Singles. They often have a significant amount of free time and enjoy making connections with other Americans who are similarly interested in reaching internationals. As for their outreach, singles should befriend internationals of the same gender so that the internationals do not get the wrong message.
- Faculty. Professors enjoy both access and credibility in ministry to international students. Internationals, in fact, tend to respect the viewpoint of a professor more highly than do Americans. But note that some professors, like others in demanding occupations, may lack the time to lead a movement.
- Ethnic Americans. Depending on their specific background, ethnic Americans may have dealt with some of the same adjustments in culture or even language that face internationals. Their presence as leaders or participants in a local movement will also help overcome a stereotype of internationals who feel Christ is only for white Westerners. (See Rev.5:9)
- Retirees. They generally have time, resources, and connections within the community and are often looking for a way to make an impact for Christ.
- Couples with grown children. They also may have significant time to invest in ministry-and a platform of life experiences from which to minister.
- Former missionaries. Such people are specialists in reaching a particular people group. They could provide leadership or training. Even those who ministered in a nation that is not well-represented on your campus may help your movement’s awareness of cross-cultural communication.
- International believers. God may provide international believers who could–with the right discipleship, aligning and coaching–begin reaching out to others from their nations and establish a team to reach internationals.