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Friendship Evangelism.

""The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God"
    - Leviticus 19:34

Friendship is at the heart of cross-cultural ministry. Time spent talking together, or opening your home to share a cup of coffee are wonderfully simple ways to begin a relationship.

Following are some thoughts on friendship evangelism from The World at Your Door, a book by Dr. Tom Phillips and Bob Norsworthy. (© Bethany House Publishers.)

"A Middle Eastern student, asked to share about the years he had spent as a student in America, said, 'I have been in America for four years, and these have been the most lonely years of my life. When I walk down a hallway and an American says with a smile, 'Hi, how are you doing?' I stop and try to tell them how I am doing. Instead, they just keep on walking and don't really care about my answer.'

"Statistics prove that this student's story is all too commonplace. Among the international students who study in the U.S., historically 70 percent have never been invited to an American home during their stay. More than 85 percent are never invited to an American church or have any meaningful contact with genuine Christians during an average stay of four years.

"Still there is good news from these statistics. These students feel a tremendous need for relationship. They are open to anyone who will stretch out their hand and say, 'I'll be your friend.' We can change these statistics--one lonely student at a time. Each of us can be that friend.

"Most students have no one to meet them at the airport when they arrive in America. ...If you are available to step into these situations at the student's time of need, you will make a lifetime friend.

"These first few weeks in America bring one bewildering experience after another. Your friendship outreach may begin with nothing more than being there to meet needs.

"Jiang recently arrived in the U.S. from China. He was suspicious about Christianity, but he was willing to have American Christian friends. The Carlsons know that as they love Christ other opportunities to share will come about in the natural course of the friendship. In the meantime, they will enjoy Jiang as a person and include him on family outings."

Practical Needs You Can Meet:

Sharing Your Faith:

"While spiritual concerns are a key motivation for us to interact with an international student, make sure it's not your single focus and only motivation. Students sense when they are merely a target for evangelism. They also know when you are sincere and genuine toward them with 'no strings attached.' Your first priority should be reaching out to the student's needs and from there developing a basis to talk about spiritual matters."

Learn More:

One excellent resource on friendship evangelism is hereslife.com, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ in Australia. This practical site walks you through the simple steps to cross-cultural ministry:

Sojourners online has an excellent article on hospitality: True Biblical Hospitality: Loving Immigrants, Strangers, and Enemies, by Benjamin Corey.

Christian Churches Together shares the article What Does the Bible Say About Refugees and Immigrants?

United Methodist Women publish a Leaders' Guide to Immigration and the Bible: A Guide to Radical Welcome, which you can use at your church.

Recommended Reading:
These books will help you learn more about how Christians of other cultures experience life in America and suggest ideas for multicultural ministry outreach. The stars are readers' ratings from Amazon.com. No stars means the book had not been reviewed at the time of this writing.
( A portion of your purchases from Amazon help cover expenses of our ministry. Thank you!)

Many Colors: Cultural Intelligence for a Changing Church
By Soong-Chan Rah
Moody Publishers

Building a Healthy Multi-ethnic Church: Mandate, Commitments and Practices of a Diverse Congregation
By Mark DeYmaz

Cultural Intelligence: Improving Your CQ to Engage Our Multicultural World
by David A. Livermore
Baker Academic

Bridging the Diversity Gap: Leading Toward God's Multi-Ethnic Kingdom
By Alvin Sanders
Wesleyan Publishing House

The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity
By Soong-Chan Rah
IVP Books

Leading a Healthy Multi-Ethnic Church: Seven Common Challenges and How to Overcome Them
By Mark DeYmaz

Ethnic Blends: Mixing Diversity into Your Local Church
By Mark DeYmaz

Church Diversity: Sunday The Most Segregated Day of the Week
By Scott Williams
New Leaf Publishing Group

Multicultural Ministry Handbook: Connecting Creatively to a Diverse World
Edited by David Anderson and Margarita Cabellon
IVP Books

Multicultural Ministry: Finding Your Church's Unique Rhythm
By David Anderson

One Body, One Spirit: Principles of Successful Multiracial Churches
By George Yancey
IVP Books

The Color of Church: A Biblical and Practical Paradigm for Multiracial Churches
By Rodney Woo
B&H Academic

Aliens in the Promised Land: Why Minority Leadership Is Overlooked in White Christian Churches and Institutions
By Anthony Bradley
P & R Publishing

"This ministry is simple and uncomplicated. ...develop international friends ....lead a student to a personal relationship from Jesus Christ.

God will use you as an instrument of peace for the nations. And you don't have to go to the other side of the globe to have an impact."

Billy Graham

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