The story behind our vision for international campus ministries

ISM, Inc. is a non­profit, tax­exempt mission ministry associated with The Lutheran Church­­Missouri Synod (LCMS).

The awareness of certain key issues prompted the initiation of a mission society that would encourage individuals to participate in prayer, personal involvement and financial giving in support of ministry among university and college international student communities.

In the early 1990s, interest in reaching out among international students on university campuses grew in The Lutheran Church­­Missouri Synod. Today, eighty plus campuses have intentional ministries among international students.

The Need

Those involved with international campus ministry became aware of some key points. These needs ultimately drove the creation of ISM, Inc.

  • God is bringing a large number of international students to U.S. campuses each year, but not enough people are involved in the mission.
  • Little effort is made to reach international students with a Gospel ministry in other parts of the world.
  • International students receive very little support in maintaining Christian contact with Lutheran or Christian congregations upon returning to their home countries.
  • International students staying in the U.S. and moving away from the college campus environment experience difficulty in being accepted into congregational life and worship.
  • International students who become Christian are key potential lay missionaries and evangelists among their own people at the university and in their home countries.

Our Recognition

Since its establishment, International Student Ministry, Inc. has been able to grow in membership and recognition.

ISM, Inc. was officially organized May 30, 1996, at a meeting held at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Des Plaines, Illinois.

In January 1997, it became a member of ALMA (Association of Lutheran Mission Agencies).

In 2010, ISM, Inc. became a Recognized Service Organization (RSO) of The Lutheran Church­­Missouri Synod.

The mission ministry is governed by a Board of Directors drawn from its membership. You can view our leadership page for more information.