Calling, Purpose and Objective
CALLING: We believe God has brought the nations to Arkansas for the specific purpose to experience His love for them and be transformed by His Gospel.
Two areas of great need the international students have are adapting cross- culturally and community.
PURPOSE: Our purpose is to build a bridge of friendship that will bear the weight of Truth.
This is accomplished as we genuinely love them with Christ’s unconditional love, welcome them intoour lives, and we step into theirs.
OBJECTIVE: The International Student Ministry Objective of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention is to partner, encourage and strengthen BCM’s and churches in engaging international students.
Oscar Thompson in his classic book, “Concentric Circles of Concern,” made this statement, “the most important word in the English language is not Love, but Relationship. Relationship is the track that love runs on.” To have an impact with internationals we must take the time to build those relationships. Therefore, we have got to welcome them well. You will find great ideas in the “Welcoming Resource” section to engage internationals as they arrive into Arkansas and head for your college or university.
One of the greatest testimonies’ we hear from international students is they were overwhelmed by the love Christians showed them. They developed friendships, felt dearly loved, valued, and cared for by them. That is often the main reason they wanted to know our God. Outside of their family, they had never seen unconditional love before. This begins in having a relationship with them. Get ready, the Gospel will come more alive to you as you build the bridge of friendship and watch Jesus walk into their lives as you live out your faith with your new friend.
Here is a statement that challenged me when I first heard it. “Discipleship begins before salvation.” As you think about it, all of us began learning theological Truth before we placed our faith in Christ. For us, it was maybe through Sunday School, church, small groups or the impact of someone’s life that had been transformed by the Gospel. The same is true with international students. First, they began hearing of God’s love through a relationship, conversation club, small group or even attending church with someone. They become very curious. They want to understand why American Christians seem to go out of their way to treat them with love, respect, and care. They are intrigued and want to learn about Jesus, whom the American credits with these attributes. A great way to help them with these answers is to take them to the Word of God. We use methods we call, “Discovery Bible Studies” (DSB).
The purpose of Discovery Bible Studies is to provide the “big picture” of God’s redemptive plan for man. The students are exposed to the Holiness of God, His passion for man to know Him and His plan to redeem man so they can enjoy and glorify God forever. This begins their own spiritual journey with Jesus.
When the time has come for our international brothers and sisters in Christ to return home, the preparation should have already taken place. It is imperative for us to have modeled for them sharing the Gospel, Discovery Bible Studies and God’s heart for the nations before that day comes.
Ask God to raise up internationals with a hunger to know Him. Lead your church and/or BCM to create a plan to equip the international students and send them off (commission them out) with the Kingdom of God on their heart.
- Follow up with them leading through reproducible Bible Studies.
- Teach them how to intentionally engage for the sake of the Gospel in their community wherever God leads them as you have modeled this for them.
- Teach them how to begin Bible Study groups.
- Teach them how to identify and equip leaders from within those Bible Study groups.
- The ABSC can help provide training for them through the church planting department.