As International Student Ministries continue to proclaim, “The nations are here,” creative methods of engaging them through friendships develop. Traditionally, we have engaged through friendship partners, church family “adoptions,” conversation partners, conversational English groups, intramurals, class study partners, holiday hosting, cultural events, and a variety of other ways. The purpose of these programs and methods is to forge relationships in which we can both speak and show the love of Christ to our international friends.
A Gold Mine of Resources: Kingdom-Minded Professionals at Your Church
An often under-used demographic in our churches is professionals from various fields. For example, in your church you may have some professionals working in the field that match what the international students at your local university are studying. God may be developing His heart for the nations in them. These may be God-ordained friendships waiting to happen. These professionals might be businessmen and women, people working in the fields of information technology and computer science, biological researchers, medical doctors, clinical lab science professionals, and even international law experts, to list of a few. Can you imagine what it would mean to these dear students to have time with an American professional in their field of study? These internationals are some of the brightest students in the entire world studying in our country and local state universities. We do not know how long we will have them here, so we have got to reach out to them in innovative ways.
Only God Knows the Potential…
Not only can a mentor share about their experiences and daily routine, but imagine the inroads for sharing how their faith impacts their professional decisions. Just imagine the powerful witness of these friends sharing how their relationship with Jesus affects every area of life, including their profession.
To equip professionals in your church, consider giving them some conversation topics, such as:
- Reason for choosing this profession
- Why and how they try to practice integrity in all business dealings
- Concern and care for the community and church
- The importance of Christian values in their family life
- How they steward their time, talents, and treasures for God’s glory
In addition to the professional significance of these conversations, as the relationship strengthens, the international student will observe the authenticity of their mentor’s relationship to Christ in their profession and life outside of work.
A Tremendous Potential for Long-Term Impact
To continue to dream big, another possibility stemming from professional mentoring relationships is a missions partnership to the nations. Upon graduation and the international’s return to his or her home country, he or she may have dreams to make a difference embedded in their hearts. Many internationals are longing to focus their efforts on socioeconomic improvements. This can happen by creating small businesses or providing resources such as clean water, improved living environments, and increased job opportunities. Combining these efforts and a new-found relationship with Jesus Christ is a wonderful setup for a missional partnership with the U.S. professional and their church to help strengthen the work and bridge the Gospel in the home country of their international friend.
Are you a professional in a particular field? Prayerfully consider using the job and skills God has entrusted to you to make a kingdom impact on the nations right here in the United States. Who knows how God may choose to work as we step in obedience to Him!
International Student Consultant, Arkansas Baptists
Learn more about Bit’s work and international student ministry at argo2.org!