Reaching International Students in Our Own Backyards
An interview with key evangelical leaders.
Ed: Tell us a little bit about the initiative.
Denis LaClare: The Every International Initiative is a collaborative effort from international student ministries around North America. We’re coming together to provide a platform where anyone can come to the website and discover how to launch and lead an international student ministry where they are.
Ed: How does prayer fit into that?
Marc Papai: Prayer is essential to anything in God’s kingdom. We think it’s particularly strategic with this initiative with Every International. We are forming prayer circles around North America of students, staff, and church people to pray at least on a monthly basis for international student work in their local area and around the globe.
Ed: I don’t think people always understand just how big the international student pool is. Why should this be on the radar of North American churches, or churches reading this around the world?
Beau Miller: According to the Institute of International Education, there are over one million international students in the United States. We have a pretty good estimate within the ISM (international student ministries) movement of how many of these students are hearing the gospel or being befriended by an evangelical Christian.
The bottom line is there’s a tremendous gap between how many international students there are and how many international students we are reaching. Most of them are not being reached. We think Every International is a platform where we can engage the broader church—those outside of the ISM movement—to reach out to nearby internationals, not just students, but even immigrants or refugees.