COVID canceled many opportunities last year—but in a few cases, it made them more accessible. ISMC Vancouver annually hosts a student leadership retreat. Last September, we turned the weekend in-person retreat into an eight-month pilot project involving about a dozen student leaders from across Canada.
At ISMC, we strive to walk alongside our students on their unique leadership development journeys, preparing them for the good works God has created them to do. The purpose of the student leadership pilot project: to inspire and empower international students to play their unique role in God’s mission.
The eight-month project included a rich combination of online retreats, workshops, and one-on-one mentoring. Students explored their own stories and those of others, discussed scripture, learned and practiced spiritual disciplines, and examined their strengths. They looked at God’s grand story and learned to craft their own spiritual narratives. Throughout it all, the students were mentored by ISMC staff, volunteers, post graduate students and alumni as they dug deeper into the concepts they were exploring.
The students discovered that God is interested in their lives, even the hard things they’ve experienced. This encouraged them to persevere through their struggles, to grow closer to God, to seek healing, and to bless others with their stories.
It was a breakthrough for several students to learn that what they previously saw as odd or frustrating about themselves could be a display of their strengths! The students learned to appreciate how God made them; they learned to use their passions to serve and bless others, embodying the theme of Ephesians 2:10: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
ISMC anticipates developing this student leadership series and is hoping to expand to other cities—especially if COVID restrictions allow for a hybrid program. Please pray for the students as they continue to apply all they learned during the program—and please pray for the next iteration of the leadership development series launching in winter 2022.
Support the ISMC Student Leadership Fund.
Leadership Development Director,