by Alex Mandes
Immigration and evangelism go hand in hand. When people move, they often find their way to God.
In Acts 1:8, Jesus tells his disciples, “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” That passage is often used to inspire Christians to go to other nations as missionaries. But sometimes Samaria moves into your neighborhood.
You can’t talk about over there and over here. You have to understand that Samaria doesn’t always stay in Samaria—sometimes it moves to America. God is at work and He uses immigration. The United States is becoming more diverse because of immigration. And that’s going to change the makeup of local churches.
New immigrants to the United States are often looking for friends and communities to join. They’re also open to questions of faith. I think the whole experience of migration self-selects riskers and thinkers—people who are willing to go out of the box and think again about what is important in life.
Churches will find open doors to sharing the gospel with immigrants by showing hospitality and by helping them navigate a new culture and new language.
Alejandro “Alex” Mandes (@AlexMandes) is director of Hispanic ministries for the Evangelical Free Church of America and executive director of Immigrant Hope, a nonprofit that gives legal and spiritual assistance to immigrants.