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Welcoming the Stranger

Have you heard there is a new dialogue among evangelicals today regarding our need to have a compassionate, Biblical response to the often politically polarizing conversation about immigration? Since the recent Presidential election, the press has been buzzing about the Hispanic vote and immigration reform as a top issue of the next administrative term. What you don’t hear is that immigrant and non-immigrant evangelicals are uniting on the topic of immigration reform as a common ground issue at the grassroots level; united by our common faith convictions and our relationships…

Are you up for the Challenge?

Have you heard there is a new dialogue among evangelicals today regarding our need to have a compassionate, Biblical response to the often politically polarizing conversation about immigration? Since the recent Presidential election, the press has been buzzing about the Hispanic vote and immigration reform as a top issue of the next administrative term. What you don’t hear is that immigrant and non-immigrant evangelicals are uniting on the topic of immigration reform as a common ground issue at the grassroots level; united by our common faith convictions and our relationships.

Three years ago the idea that pro-life evangelicals = pro-immigration was just beginning to take shape, and although the work on the ground to help evangelicals think about immigration through a Biblical lens has been slow, it has also been steady. I have had the opportunity to work in the State of Colorado to help bring this Biblical message to pastors and ministry leaders in order to help shift attitudes about immigrants and immigration from the often divisive and unchristian rhetoric we hear in the media. We have been doing this through one on one meetings with Christian leaders, events big and small to help educate people on both the Biblical mandate to love immigrants and the current immigration system, trainings to teach advocacy skills on how to bring one’s personal conviction to the public square and prayer. We pray a lot because this is a big job, and we aren’t that strong and powerful, rich or influential, but we know the One who holds the hearts of those who are. We know that only God can move His people; so immigrant and non-immigrant church leaders alike lift prayers – often in multiple languages – asking that God would use His church to alleviate injustice. The best part of this is that God is answering.

We are seeing a growing number of pastors and their congregations who want to learn and engage on this Biblical issue at a deeper level. They are recognizing the role the church has to play in this conversation and are willing to be active participants to help alleviate injustice through their prophetic voice. In the coming months we here in Colorado are going to participate in the, I Was a Stranger Challenge, sponsored by the Evangelical Immigration Table (www.evangelicalimmigrationtable.com), and I would encourage all our CCDA affiliates to join us with the many other evangelical groups across the country.

The idea behind this national 40 day challenge is to encourage Christians in both the church and the halls of Congress to learn what the Bible has to say about immigration and to pray that God would give us all clarity and unity on this issue. The campaign is taken from Matthew 25:35 where Jesus says that when we welcome a stranger, we may be welcoming Him. Our hope is that Christians will not only take this challenge but that they will encourage their churches, spheres of influence and even their legislators to take the challenge as well. Can you imagine what would happen if Christians all over the country simply read their Bibles and prayed about having a just, compassionate response to immigration? Well you won’t have to imagine for long because this January we are taking the challenge and we invite you to as well.

Embrace the challenge and let’s see what God will do!

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