Last night, we had our opening worship session for our first-ever Global ACCESS retreat. It was a great joy to see so many people there at the retreat. I realized that we have a good percentage of international students in our church.
This retreat has really been a dream in the making. We have always envisioned and talked about having a retreat just for the international students so that we can equip and empower people to reach the nations. We had many nations represented.
In the first night I talked about “The Bi-Cultural Calling.” It is interesting to see many people in the Bible that used who were “bi-cultural.” We looked at Joseph, Moses, Daniel and Paul. As the international students are adjusting to the American culture they are learning how to be “bridges” for two cultures.
In fact, we even talked about the Third Culture Kids (TCK). Sociologist David Pollock describes a TCK as “a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents’ culture. The TCK builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership of any. Although elements from each culture are assimilated into the TCK’s life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of a similar background.”
It is interesting how an increasing number of people from other countries, who have come to the United States to study, go back to their country and find themselves feeling like they are in a whole new culture. This is especially true for those people who have come to experience Jesus Christ here in the States. In some ways, they are forming their own “third culture.”
This is one of the reasons why the possibility of starting up an expatriate international church might become a reality in the future. Not only are there “westerns” who are in that international city to work but there are many college graduates who have studied in the States, UK and Australia who have adopted this “third culture” mentality.
As we plant the seeds in the hearts and minds of the international students in our church, we will see a vision of planting international churches blossom into something beautiful.