There are exciting ministries here in Greenville, SC that reach-out to international students. The students are engaged through friendship and Bible study. Over the next two posts we will hear from two ministry leaders about how they cultivate Bible study environments that allow students to engage comfortably.
Q: How do you get students to come to your bible study?
I cover the invitation with prayer then make the invitation simple and relational, “We are going to meet together to talk about the Bible and what it says.” “Have you wondered what the Bible says or who the God of the Bible is? – If so please join us for Bible Fellowship on ‘date & time’. We will have snacks and enjoy a time together as we discuss”. I count on the Holy Spirit to draw students to the study and through the study to Himself.
Q: How do you get the students to engage in your study and continue to come?
It is first about connecting in friendship, getting to know each other so that you build an environment that is fun and where trust is built. Having time to socialize, have snacks and chat is important. Students have busy schedules and international students are very academic minded, so establishing a good relationship is very important. The enemy will seek to distract students with the cares of their academic work. We also have to be patient and understanding with an open posture toward students. We never want a student to feel pressure; and we strive to remain loving, caring and open, even if the student is not. This is demonstrating God’s faithful love.
Q: What advice would you give to those seeking to start up a bible study?
Pray, Pray, Pray!! And get a group together that will cover you and the group in prayer during the study time. And Prepare, Prepare, Prepare! With internationals you always need to be sensitive to the culture and worldview that students are coming from when opening up God’s word to them. Studying where Guilt/Innocence, Honor/Shame, and Fear/Power is within the scriptures is important in helping students understand the gospel and in helping them cross over into the Kingdom.