With all the controversy in the media about Muslim refugees, many Americans might not know that our country has historically favored Christian refugees. Many refugees coming to America are Christian (some belonging to minority groups experiencing persecution): Orthodox from Iraq, Pentecostals from Eritrea, Evangelicals from Sudan, Catholics from Cuba and Vietnam, and Baptists from Bhutan and Burma.
Photo: Armenian Orthodox church in Houston
Christian refugees, then, are not just our guests, they are our brothers and sisters in Christ. They are changing the landscape, not just of our nation, but also of our churches. These diaspora and immigrant Christians are having a significant influence on the shape of not only North American Christianity, but global Christianity. Today independent immigrant churches are the fastest growing among evangelical churches in the U.S. Immigrants help revitalize stagnating or dying churches. They make good missionaries to other immigrants and to fellow countrymen back home and in other countries. Immigrant churches are great equipping churches for missionaries. And immigrants have tremendous potential as ministers of reconciliation as they have had to cross cultural and social lines, often in the face of great trial and suffering.
The nations have come to America, creating a tremendous opportunity for us to live out our commitment to Christ. Through tragic circumstances, Christian refugees come as a prophetic voice and blessing to the Church in America. In places around the globe where Christians are being driven out, they are coming together again here in America, and God is doing mighty things among them.
“As we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10). Consider our global refugee family, and let us do good.