He’s in front of you in the grocery line. She’s the new girl in your child’s classroom. They’re the family who moved in next door. You’ve read about immigrants or refugees moving to your town, but you’re not sure what to say…so you just turn your head.
What’s a correct Christian response to strangers in your community? When we see immigrants as individuals—dearly loved by God—it’s easy to truly care. Your Bible class, ministry group or entire church can impact eternity when you accept this new mission field in your own back yard. Ministry to immigrants and refugees can enliven your church.
Seek out refugees or immigrants, and ask God to guide you to minister to them. Your method of ministry will vary widely to fit needs of individuals and people groups, but the goal is the same: to show God’s love and share his plan of salvation. Some of these simple ideas may help you get started.
Begin an ESL class in your home or church to assist with language. Personally invite each refugee to the class.
When you see a need, find a way to meet it. Assist with children’s school registration, finding medical or dental assistance, connecting utilities, or basic skills such as grocery shopping.
Offer help with employment, such as job leads, interview tips, wardrobe assistance, or computer skills. Some may be professionals, so pair them with church members in similar vocations for assistance.
Be a true friend. Learn their names. Pronounce them correctly. Invite them to your home. Give a baby shower for a new mom. Give a Bible in their native language.
Show love to their children. Give a backpack of treats, school supplies and clothing. Invite them to play with your kids. Help with homework. Include them in church events.
Bring them to church. Include them in worship, Bible class, Vacation Bible School, and every aspect of church. Provide translation headphones or a worship service in their language, if needed.
Most important, help refugees find true refuge in God. Share Jesus. There she is, in front of you in the grocery line. Initiate a conversation now.
© Diana Davis. Her new book, “Across the Street and Around the World,” will be released this fall.