“After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands.” Revelation 7:9, NLT
It was an electrifying week at the SIM Headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina when about 100 International Student Ministry (ISM) leaders from 25 countries gathered under the auspices of the Lausanne Movement. With the number of international students globally having now mushroomed to over 5 million, with Canada accounting for about 8% of that, it was clear what the Spirit of the Lord was saying to us ‘professional missionaries’: give up control!!
Through a word of knowledge on our first night of intense prayer the Lord showed us a picture of a dam about to break its bounds. God is calling us to engage, envision and equip the whole Church with the whole Gospel (word and deed) to reach every international student within our national boundaries. He says the way to do this is to transition from mere international student ministries to international student movements. Unless the whole body of Christ in Canada ‘gets it’ and does something about the nearly half a million international students in our midst, it would be a sad thing to see the 86% of the world’s Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus who do not personally know a Christian come among us ostensibly to study and leave still untouched by the love of Jesus through His people!
How can this be? First and foremost: by prayer. Secondly, together with other ISMs we are stepping up already-made, easy-to-engage, turnkey, onramp programmes and projects like Friends for Dinner, Home Away from Home, Welcome Ride, Global Leadership Roundtables and Enroute which any ‘ordinary’ member of any ‘ordinary’ church can sign up and plug into towards the big dream of touching every international in our midst. We are rolling out solid Bible discovery-based discipleship training for every local church in Canada to disciple our students better than we are today, especially in a way that these students become disciple-makers and church-planting catalysts themselves (leaders) here and in their nations of origin.
How do you see yourself contributing to God’s ‘big, hairy, audacious goal’ of “a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb”?
Join global ISM Leaders dream big with God and pray: that EVERY INTERNATIONAL STUDENT from EVERY nation in EVERY nation will have the opportunity to encounter the Gospel and become a catalyst for an evangelical church for every people, Christ-like leaders for every church, and kingdom impact in every sphere of society. Maranatha!
Dr. Yaw Perbi