International student ministry presents unique opportunities to reach the world for Christ. In my last blog post, I wrote that developing internationals as leaders is critical. Yet there are many obstacles they need to overcome in order to lead well within their strengths and weaknesses.

How would you define a leader? Think of three important characteristics and compare your answers with the responses from internationals we polled. You might see some differences.

Rob Dixon

Chances are, as an InterVarsity student leader, you minister alongside people of the opposite gender. Perhaps you co-lead a small group, or partner together on your chapter’s leadership team, or your fellowship is served by male and female staff who work together to lead the ministry. How are those partnerships going for you?

The summer of 2015, I spent seven life-changing weeks on a Global Urban Trek in Mexico City. My name is Rebecca. I am a senior at Grand Valley State University, in my third year on our leadership team as a small group leader. I am studying nonprofit administration, and I want to go on to work in a church doing cross-cultural and/or urban ministry.

Being mentored is a critical experience for aspiring leaders. Mentoring is not the same as discipling, pastoring, coaching, or counseling, although elements of each might be part of a mentoring relationship. According to Robert Clinton, a professor of leadership, mentoring is a relational experience in which one person empowers another by sharing God-given resources. The focus in these relationships is on increased capacity generated by the resources and the relationship shared.

Have we just left the ‘good ol’ days’?  You know, the days we will look back on and realize how relatively stress-free it was to be a Christian on campus, when the only things standing in the way to speak freely about our faith were our own fear of rejection and sense of inadequacy.

Marc Papai

One of the real joys of eating at a good restaurant is, of course, the actual eating. Imagine a thick slice of cinnamon apple pie or a steaming bratwurst or some spicy Korean barbecue, the aromas rising warm and rich, wafting to your senses. The anticipation of the taste swirling across your tongue — eating such food is a singular delight. But doesn’t a lot of the sweetness of the experience occur after you have eaten, when you lean back after that last bite, full and satisfied, with your face and your belly smiling happily?

We read from tweets and news feeds that reconciliation and justice are gospel issues, but rarely do we use the gospel narrative to actually disciple people in practicing justice. James Choung’s Big Story gospel diagram gives us a tool to explain what is wrong with our world and why Jesus is the ultimate solution to the pain, suffering and injustice we see all around us.

If you are leading a group, it is important to develop your skills so all members participate and contribute their best to the decisions you make together.

Jim Lundgren

In light of Ferguson and other recent events, I am deeply disturbed by the racial divide in our country. Yet I am also deeply grateful for the bridge-builders in our ministry who take on the challenge of racial reconciliation with courage, intentionality, vision and biblical conviction in God’s redeeming grace.

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