Matthew 28:19-20: Know this: discipleship gives us four calls to action:
- MAKE DISCIPLES
The church is taking these things seriously, but we are still struggling to make disciples within the church. We want to see the world radically changed for the gospel. The fear is that we decide to start separating missions/world changing from the church. We are to remember that Jesus instituted the church and has called us to work, first and foremost, through the bride of Christ. Jesus called us to go to all the nations. Dallas is one of the top recipients of refugees, and with that being said, the nations are coming to us. They're in our backyard, Vickery Meadows. The goal isn't to americanize these people, but to show them Jesus Christ.
Jason Clarke with Free City International took the stage to address some of the harder parts of addressing the subject of refugees:
- The Global Refugee Problem.
- A Biblical Response to the Global Refugee Problem
- How We Respond Biblically
The reality: we see massive horrible issues, we create our own response and that may not connect with what the Lord wants.
- Conflict and Persecution: The number one cause of refugees and it is causing a massive influx of people around the world.
- Famine: things just will not grow if there is no one around to harvest. Most of the people driven out, originally, are leaving due to conflict, and that causes famine.
- Disaster: hurricanes, etc.
The people are not the problem, the other things are. Yes, there are things we can do. There are easy things we can help with: basic needs. He has made it our purpose to glorify him in the earth and pursue justice and peace where there is conflict; it is a huge part of God's heart. We are his conduits and peace makers.
16.2 million refugees in the world.
1% are allowed to be resettled legally in a U.N. Resettlement program.
There are only three places that outnumber Dallas in the resettling of refugees, and they are countries: Canada, Australia, and Sweden.
What is God doing in the world in the midst of this conflict? I believe he is there and everywhere--doing something. Our call is to join him. He has called us to pursue peace and justice, but we have to go with him to meet him where he is. There is war and problems everywhere so what do we do? This is a work in the spirit.
We need to engage this like Jesus did. He engaged inconveniently. He left perfection in heaven, to join us, his enemies, so that we could be restored to God. That is the best model that we could follow. We cannot affect what is happening without being selfless and giving it all. So how do I live in a crucified way? We have to think inconvenient actions. We have to keep striving to be like Christ. We act as his disciples. We have to be followers that desire so much to be like him and follow his will. We cannot effect the world if we are not acting selflessly. The world is broken. It means more than countries are at war. It means peoples lives are destroyed. The ministry of reconciliation is the thing we have been given to use and act upon. Dallas is not sitting in an un-strategic place. We are in the apex of it all where God is at work. He is there saying, “Join me!”
What are we to do?
- Welcome the stranger
- Seek justice
- Build up the church
- Make disciples
- Feed the hungry
- Heal the sick
- Seek the good of the city
- Make disciples
- Correct oppression
A refugee, that currently lives in Vickery Meadows, came up and shared his experience with Northwest Bible church and how God is moving in his life. It was an honor to listen to his story about his escape from all the genocide that was happening in Rwanda and the places they tried to escape to, at the time. He is now a US citizen and serving at Northwest Bible Church.
Question: What is one of the most practical, effective and non offensive ways to engage refugees?
It's over 50 different people groups, in Vickery Meadows. There are some general types of kind things, but there are so many cultural things. Look into how you can view and integrate things and see how you can connect with a program already working in there.
Question: What are the refugees most common need?
There are three things: shelter, food, and a job. It is not easy because a good majority of the time, people cannot get connected or the language barrier makes it tough. Job placement is the hardest. Jesus loves enemies. What does it look like to be a peacemaker for christ in the refugee community? It is about going in and working to see who this person is that is standing in front of you. Go in and try to understand their story; be a listener and find empathy. Weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. Especially with people in other cultures. Learn their story. Invest in them.
Question: What are the basic needs of the children and how can we make the transition easier as they settle in and look for schools?
They want attention and they need love. Whether its the generational poverty, or the refugees, they need someone to invest in their life and tell them about Jesus.
Question: What barriers have you seen trying to minister to the children and even the parents?
There are some refugees that have been here for 5 years and it is still tough. When we try to implement Jesus in caregiving and sometimes they kind of have some push back. The children are still eager and still have the desire to hear more about Jesus.
Question: How do we get connected to an organization? What type of mindset should we have going into it?
The mindset is the most important thing. There are so many ministries and churches in which you can get involved. Sacrifice and be selfless, ask how you can serve and remember it is about what God wants to do through people in our backyard. Tell them you want to help. Go to an organization and let them know you're ready. Go into it with patience.
Great ways to get involved!
Free City International: https://freecity.org/
Vickery Meadows KidsClub: http://www.northwestbible.org/newsevents/calendar/vickery-kids-club/254951855/
Love Is Ministry: http://www.loveisministry.org/
Northwest Bible Church: http://www.northwestbible.org/outreach/serve/grid/
Thank you to Northwest Bible Church for letting us use their incredible church! Also, a thank you to Brian Newby for being so involved and helpful with the event. Thank you to Jason Clarke for speaking and empowering us to act selflessly. Thank you to the other ministries that showed up. Thank you, to all that came!