The “great migration” in my mind conjures up images of the great hall of Ellis Island, European immigrants standing in line with nothing but the positions they could carry….. Past history right, WRONG. We are living in the midst of a great migration of people right now.
In an excellent blog article entitled “Strangers Next Door” by J.D. Payne he points some very interesting facts. For example according to Payne,
More than 230 million people live outside their countries of birth, according to the United Nations. That’s 3 percent of the world’s population. If this number represented a single country, it would be the 5th largest nation in the world. One in 5 of the world’s immigrants live in the United States, which is home to 46 million immigrants, according to 2013 statistics from the United Nations.
Some come for a better way of life. While others come for a better education. Others come to escape famine or a conflict. We can spend a lot of time debating immigration, immigration reform, etc. What ever the reason they continue to come. What I don’t think we have time to debate is the response of the church to those that have already come and those that are coming.
In a personal testimony at our churches missions banquet last Sunday, we heard the testimony of how God had used contact with missionaries and believers to change to course of a man’s life. He spoke of how he had come to be part of our church through a welcoming Sunday School Class. WOW, that is powerful stuff.
In his blog post, Payne lists “some principles to keep in mind as your church develops a strategy to reach immigrants in your community.” I think his list of principles apply to claiming our block, our neighborhood, our community for Christ. To be the people of impact in the lives of those that steadily moving here.
Learn as you go.
Be willing to make mistakes.
Recognize the bridges of God..
Look for receptivity.
Pray in all things.
Find connecting points.
To be honest, this list looks very much like the themes I see in the book of Acts. The recorded story of the Gospel moving beyond the boundaries of the church at Jerusalem to points beyond. It is time to be cross-cultural at home. The mission field has come to Central Texas. It is time for some on the job training, learning as a I go, building bridges of God’s love, making connections. Please pray for me.