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Ministry to Immigrants in Your Neighborhood Reaching Out to Those the Lord Has Brought to Your Doorstep Mercy Conference College Park, MD March 21, 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "Ministry to Immigrants in Your Neighborhood Reaching Out to Those the Lord Has Brought to Your Doorstep Mercy Conference College Park, MD March 21, 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ministry to Immigrants in Your Neighborhood Reaching Out to Those the Lord Has Brought to Your Doorstep Mercy Conference College Park, MD March 21, 2014 Pat Hatch Debbie Guo Chris Zang 1

2 Introductory film clip Did anything surprise you about this film clip? Do you look to Scripture in forming opinions about immigration and immigrants, and guiding your actions toward those you meet? What were two of the many benefits of working with immigrants that were mentioned in the clip? 2

3 Overview – Part I What does the Word say about immigrants? How many immigrants are there in the area? near me? Why reach out to them? Where can immigrants be found? 3

4 What does the Word say about immigrants? Welcoming the Stranger bookmark Throughout Scripture, God commands that His people welcome the stranger, the alien, and treat them with compassion and justice. Deut. 10: 17-19 For the Lord your God, mighty and awesome, shows no partiality..He defends the cause of the fatherless and widow and loves the alien…And you are to love those who are aliens..” 4

5 Scripture, continued Leviticus 19: 34 “The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the Lord your God [who gives you this command.]” 5

6 What did Jesus say? Matthew 25: 35, 40, 43, 45 “…I was a stranger and you invited me in… Whatever you did for the least of these you did for me.” “…I was a stranger and you did NOT invite me in…Whatever you did NOT do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me.” 6

7 How many immigrants? As of 2010, there were approximately 40 million immigrants in the US That is 13% of the country’s total population, or 1 out of every 8 persons Those figures do not include US-born children of immigrant parents, which would bring the percentage to at least 20% or 1 in 5 In Maryland, 14% of the population is foreign- born, approximately 1 in 7 persons, 1 in 4 if counting US-born children of immigrant parents 7

8 Percent of Maryland Population Which is Foreign Born, 2010-2012 NOTE: These percentages do NOT include US –born children born to immigrant parents, which would raise the percentages significantly. Prepared by Mark Goldstein, Maryland Department of Planning. Source: 2010-2012 American Community Survey 8

9 Total Number of Foreign Born in MD 2010-2012 Prepared by the Maryland Department of Planning. Source: 2010-2012 American Community Survey 9

10 For numbers and percentages of immigrants in other states See http://www.immigimpactbystate 10

11 Why reach out to immigrants? God commands us in Scripture to reach out to immigrants – the stranger, the foreigner God has used immigration to bring to our doorstep – Persons who need to know Him and might never have encountered a believer in their home area (some from unreached people groups!) – Believers from other cultures who can teach us much, as well as learn much from us, as together we - equally vital parts of the body of Christ - do the work of the Kingdom of God 11

12 Why do immigrants come to the U.S.? PUSH factor: Political unrest, religious persecutions, economic and educational disparities, and natural disasters have forced millions to leave their homelands PULL factor: Others have been attracted here by the freedom and opportunities (education, career, etc.) or simply to reunite with family members who have lived here many years 12

13 Why reach out to immigrants, cont. The traditional American church will become increasingly irrelevant to a majority of the population if we do not The U.S. is projected to become a majority-minority nation for the first time in 2043. No group will make up a majority. pulation/cb12-243.html The vitality and sustainability of our churches - as well as the integrity of our faith - requires that we reach out and welcome people of all cultural backgrounds 13

14 Where can immigrants be found? Students in public schools, community colleges, universities Professionals – doctors, dentists, nurses, physical therapists, accountants, computer specialists, teachers, professors, etc. Managers of small businesses – gas stations, cafes, dry cleaning shops, lawn services, hair and nail salons, barber shops, restaurants, etc. Service and industry jobs– hotels, hospitals, factories; driving taxicabs, buses, trucks Ethnic grocers, arts groups, faith communities 14

15 Overview, Part 2 What opportunities might there be in my daily life to establish (redemptive) relationships with immigrants? Is there an immigrant group to which I have - or my congregation has - a natural connection? What resources (people, space, funds, etc.) might I or my congregation be able to mobilize for a ministry with this group? 15

16 What opportunities might there be in my daily life to form redemptive relationships with immigrants? Are there any immigrants you encounter on a regular basis? – A neighbor or a co-worker ? – An immigrant parent who waits for the school bus on the same corner as you do? – Someone you see every day while walking your dog or jogging? – Someone who married into your extended family? 16

17 Opportunities for redemptive relationships with immigrants, cont. Is there an immigrant with whom you have casual contact on an occasional basis? Your local dry cleaner, the parent of a child in your children’s school or soccer team, someone who works in an adjacent office, someone you see at the community pool? Whether it is someone you see regularly or on a somewhat predictable occasional basis, pray specifically for that person and ask the Lord to open opportunities for you to show genuine interest and get to know them better 17

18 Redemptive relationships, continued Patience: Redemptive relationships take time; many small encounters along the way to a deepening mutual respect and trust Listen: Let them do most of the talking and show genuine interest Be willing to be vulnerable – come alongside as a mutual learner, not as the one with all the answers Demonstrate the love of Christ in tangible ways; be the “aroma of Christ” in their lives 18

19 Are there immigrants with whom my congregation has a natural connection? Immigrant group or ethnic organization that uses space in your building? Preschool program in your building which serves some immigrant families? Local school – which many of your children or youth attend - with high % of immigrants? Nearby community college or university with many international students and/or immigrants? If your church concentrates overseas mission efforts in one or two countries, are there immigrants from those countries in your neighborhood? Other thoughts? 19

20 What existing resources might we be able to mobilize for such a ministry? People – Members who spent significant time overseas in Peace Corps, military, former missionaries, etc. – Members who are teachers, social workers, business owners, etc. who have many immigrant students, clients, or employees – Members who are fluent in another language – Families who have adopted children from other nations and value cultural interaction – Anyone whose heart has been touched by immigrants – You! Bring together a few people in your congregation who you think might form a core group for immigrant outreach – and PRAY that the Lord will provide opportunities 20

21 Resources available for immigrant ministry Space – Worship space for a fledgling immigrant congregation – Space for English as a Second Language classes – Outdoor space for a community garden – Sports field or recreation center Existing ministries of your church that could be made more accessible to immigrants – Food bank – Day care center or after-school program – Programs specific to women, men, or youth 21

22 Part 3 – Example of Ministries River’s Edge is a congregation of about 125 in MD About 20 of our members are Chinese Chris Zang – Director of International Ministry, River’s Edge PCA, Oella, MD, and wife and ministry partner, Debbie Guo – How our faith and ministry is the result of others’ immigrant outreach – How we began our immigrant outreach in Maryland – How it has grown and changed – Weekly sermon translation into Chinese – Pathfinders Fellowship special events – Ministry to individuals inside and outside the church 22

23 Other Aspects of Chris and Debbie’s ministry Outreach to visiting scholars at nearby university Provide immigrants and visitors opportunities to celebrate both Chinese and American holidays together (congregation and immigrant community) Help prepare for written and practical driver’s test Outreach and encouragement for Chinese high school students whose parents work 16 hour days and others whose parents are in China; offer both fun events and service opportunities Host weekly Chinese meal and Bible study in Chinese; annual weekend retreat NOTE: This works only because Debbie and Chris have “earned the right to be heard” by their generous, caring involvement with immigrants the rest of the week 23

24 Other aspects of this ministry Ministry to immigrants in crisis (illness, death in family, car accident, encounter with police, immigration problems, domestic violence, etc.) Oral interpretation when needed with government agencies (Debbie share important aspects of her ministry) Chris summarize River’s Edge ministry 24

25 Fruit of this ministry Many Chinese visiting scholars and immigrants have become believers and have been baptized, sharing their testimony Several Chinese believers have attended the Urbana Missions Conference and have become very ministry-minded Chinese members participate actively in our services – reading the Scripture, offering prayer, providing the special music, etc. Native-born US members, inspired by the Chinese new believers, have grown in their enthusiasm for our overseas Chinese ministry; many have spent at least 2 weeks in China; two have spent a year or more 25

26 Pat’s immigrant outreach journey Taught at English-speaking school in Korea 2 years in late 1960s; learned how it felt to be “odd person out” in another culture 1970s – volunteer on church refugee resettlement team resettling Vietnamese refugees; first task – picking up stool specimens for health department! 1981-1997 – started non-profit agency to serve immigrants – FIRN 26

27 Pat’s journey, continued 1998-2011 – served as Community Outreach and then Programs Manager for the Maryland state refugee office, MORA Also during that period, served on the Immigration Study committee for the national League of Women Voters helping to facilitate reaching a consensus position on immigration with Leagues around the US Now retired, enjoying the privilege of speaking to church groups and being a resource and support to others involved in immigrant ministry Remaining active in advocacy on immigrant issues But it all started with a willingness to pick up stool specimens! Don’t be surprised if the first steps of your ministry require real humility! 27

28 What other models of outreach to immigrants might we consider? Partnering with International Students, INC ( or with IVCF or CRU to form friendship and “home away from home” for an international student; invite to your home for a meal once a month and/or holidays American food cooking or baking lessons – Possibly alternate, with an American teaching how to make a US dish one month, an immigrant demonstrating the preparation of one of their dishes the next 28

29 Other immigrant ministry approaches Pursue English as a Second Language training ( Mission to North America offers great training – Start with a “conversation partners” model (one on one); if sufficient interest, progress to – More formal ESL classes once or twice a week – It’s a real plus if you can offer child care; if you can’t do ESL lessons yourself, you might partner with a local adult ed ESL program to provide child care while parents are in class – A class on English idioms – or pronunciation - might interest more advanced learners 29

30 Immigrant ministry starters, cont. Music can be a great bridge – Immigrants of most cultures love music and would love to share their cultural music with you and learn some American songs (even the old corny ones!) Can you try out each other’s instruments? Form a multicultural ensemble or vocal group? Making music together helps create “harmonious” relationships that can pave the way to deeper friendships and conversations 30

31 Possible partnerships in ministry Can you develop a relationship with an immigrant services organization and listen to the types of needs they identify, ready to mobilize help for one need? What about a partnership with a local immigrant congregation to work together – perhaps do a meal and activity together once a month (or even once a quarter) to open the way to joint ministry? After-school programs – Immigrant children – especially those whose parents work 16 hour days – struggle with homework and would be grateful for help; parents would be glad for a safe environment Local health departments look for space for health fairs or flu clinics specifically for immigrants 31

32 Do you have an immigrant ministry model – or idea – you can share? Please tell us about it! The possibilities are endless if we seek them prayerfully. NOTE: Most successful immigrant ministries start with one-on-one relationships between believers and immigrants; so be willing to start small and ask the Holy Spirit to lead the way 32

33 Resources Books – Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion & Truth in the Immigration Debate by Matthew Soerens & Jenny Hwang (InterVarsity Press, 2009) – Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church, and the Bible by Daniel Carroll (Baker, 2008) 33

34 Other recommended books Strangers Next Door: Immigration, Migration and Mission by J.D. Payne (Inter-Varsity Press, 2012) Neighbor: Christian Encounters with “Illegal” Immigration by Ben Daniel (Westminster John Knox Press, 2010) Generous Justice by Timothy Keller (Dutton, 2010) 34

35 Videos: Chasing Freedom; El Norte Web Resources these these ( Twitter: @MatthewSoerens @JennyYangWR Web and Other Resources 35

36 Questions? If you have questions or would like additional resources, you can contact Pat Hatch at or (443) 604-5394 Thank you for your time! 36

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