International students come from many different backgrounds with a wide variety of experiences of Christianity, not all of it positive. In many cases the first thing we need to do is to establish trust, without which no attempt to share the good news of Jesus is likely be fruitful.
People are on a journey towards becoming followers of Jesus and it can be helpful to reflect on the different stages. These are helpfully summarised in the diagram below, known as the 5 Thresholds. Watch the video to find out more!
It is important in ISM to have some activities that simply provide an opportunity to build relationships and trust and where no direct evangelism or bible teaching takes place. The Bible study or evangelistic talk can be offered on a different occasion. Look through the five thresholds and reflect on how best you can help students to cross them. As you do so remember that most non-western cultures are people orientated, not event orientated. It would be very easy to launch into planning a programme of events for international students because that is the way we organise things in our churches in our culture. However, the greatest felt need of most international students is that of genuine, unconditional friendship. An activity may prove to be well-organised and fun, but to be really effective it needs to provide the opportunity to forge relationships.