Values & Beliefs
International Friendships, Inc. (IFI) is a community organization that works in partnership with universities and Christian volunteers to promote friendship and hospitality for international students, scholars, and their families. IFI also partners with internationals through on-campus student organizations.
We seek to promote friendship and hospitality for international students. The students participating come from a variety of countries. Staff members work closely with volunteers from local churches to provide various services that address the social, cultural, and spiritual interests of international students. Our activities are open to students from all cultural and religious backgrounds.
IFI respects the role of university officials engaged in serving international students and scholars. We strive to have a high level of integrity and responsibility in our interactions with university officials and with international students and scholars. We adhere to the NAFSA: Association of International Educators Statement of Ethical Principles in our ministry to international students and scholars.
The term “international“ in the following values refers to international students, scholars, and their families.
Foundation: We Value Intimacy with Christ and Love for One Another
- We value, first and foremost, knowledge and intimacy with Christ as developed through time with Him in the spiritual disciplines, including prayer, meditation, and Bible study. (Psalm 1: 1-3, John 15:5, 1 Tim 4:7-8, Matt 22:37-38)
- We value loving each other as an expression of knowing the love of Christ. We do this through practicing the “one another”s of Scripture. (John 13:33-34, Matt. 22:39, 1 John 3:14-16, Romans 14:19, Romans 15:7, Col. 3:16, Gal. 6:2, Eph. 4:2, Eph. 4:32, 1 Thess. 4:18, James 5:16, Romans 12:10)
Ministry Approach: We Value Hospitality in Partnership with Churches
- We value extending true hospitality to internationals by opening our homes to them and living among them with an open life, demonstrating respect, acceptance and appreciation for them and their various cultures. (Heb 13:2)
- We value unconditionally loving and serving international students by meeting felt needs and reaching out in genuine friendship. (Lev. 19:34, Deut. 10:18-19, Matt 22:39)
- We value resourcing, mobilizing, and partnering with churches and other like-minded parachurch organizations to effectively serve the international student population. (1 Cor. 12:27, Eph. 4:12)
Discipleship Philosophy: We Value Life-Involvement Discipleship as a Process
- We value using forms and approaches for ministry to internationals that are culturally relevant and meaningful to the international’s background and consistent with Biblical truth. (1 Cor 9:22, Acts 17:22-23)
- We value a life-involvement approach to the whole process of discipleship, imparting truth and Christ-likeness by our example and through the Word of God in the context of genuine, loving relationships. We expect every staff person to be pursuing at least 1 of these relationships. (Matt 28:18-20, Mark 1:17, 2 Cor 4:7, Col 4:4-6)
- We value and respect discipleship as a life-long and ongoing process, beginning with evangelism, then discipleship training, and lastly partnership with internationals in ministry, leading to the multiplication of spiritual laborers for God’s glory among the nations. (1 Cor 13:11, 2 Tim 2:2, 1 Pe 2:2)
- We value and seek full partnership with internationals in efforts to make Christ known. Wherever possible, we will take a deferential posture in co-leading with international believers in order to equip them to be God’s laborers. (Isaiah 61:3,11)
- We value preparing internationals for their post-academic transition and potential move back to their country of origin through specialized conferences, internships, and personal mentoring in their field of study. (Luke 6:40, I Corinthians 9:25)
- We value continuing supportive relationships with committed internationals after they return home. (Acts 15:36)
Organizational Philosophy: We Value God-Honoring Stewardship Practices
- We value exercising faithful stewardship of the resources God has given us, including people, finances, and time, and we seek to use these gifts with God’s wisdom. (1 Cor. 4:2)
- We value excellence, a quality of work that honors God and is pleasing to constituents. (Col 3:23)
- We value integrity, operating in a manner that reflects Biblical standards and our stated values, striving to represent ourselves accurately without falsehood or exaggeration and seeking to fulfill what we promise. (Eph 4:25)
- We value teamwork, being one in spirit and purpose but functioning interdependently within the body of Christ. (Phil 2:2)
- We value investing in the continuing development of staff and volunteers by training them commensurate with their responsibilities. (1 Cor 9:24-25)
IFI Statement of Faith*
- that the scriptures of the Old and New Testament are inspired by God, inerrant in the original writings, and of supreme and final authority in faith and life (2 Timothy 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Peter 1:21);
- in one God, eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit (1 John 5:7; Genesis 1:26; Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19; Luke 1:35; Isaiah 9:6; Hebrews 1:8-9);
- that Jesus Christ was begotten by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary and is true God and true man (John 1:1, 14, 20:28; 1 Timothy 3:16; Isaiah 9:6; Philippians 2:5-6; 1 Timothy 2:5);
- that man was created in the image of God; that he sinned, and thereby incurred not only physical death, but also spiritual death (which is separation from God) and that all human beings are born with a sinful nature (Genesis 1:26-31, 3:1-7; Romans 5:12-21);
- that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scripture, as a representative and substitutionary sacrifice, and that all who believe in Him are justified on the grounds of His shed blood (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5; Romans 10:9-10; Acts 16:31; Hebrews 9:22; John 1:12);
- in the resurrection of the crucified body of our Lord, in His ascension into heaven, and in His present life there for us, as High Priest and Advocate (Luke 24:36, 39; John 2:19, 20:26-28; Philippians 3:20-21);
- in “that blessed hope,” the personal and imminent return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (Acts 1:11; 1 Corinthians 11:26; Philippians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 3:13, 4:15-5:4, 5:23; 2 Timothy 4:8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:28, 10:25, 37; 1 John 2:28, 3:2-3; Revelation 3:11; 16:15, 22:12-13, 22:20-21);
- that all who receive by faith the Lord Jesus Christ are born again of the Holy Spirit and thereby become children of God (John 1:12, 3:16; Acts 2:38; Romans 6:3, 8:9, 10:9-10; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 1:13-14, 2:8-9; Galatians 3:26; Titus 3:5);
- in the bodily resurrection of the just and the unjust, the everlasting blessedness of the saved, and the everlasting punishment of the lost (John 5:28-29; Acts 17:31, 24:15; 1 Corinthians 15:12; Revelation 20:12-13); and
- that God has established marriage as the lifelong, exclusive relationship between one genetic male and one genetic female, and that God’s plan for human sexuality is to be expressed only within the context of such a marriage (Genesis 2:24-25; Matthew 19:5-6; Romans 1:18-31; 1 Corinthians 6:9).