Start Here–Close to Home

I hope you are excited about the “Start Here” resources included in our May 2017 issue of Postings. Many churches are sending their teams across the country to participate in one of these high-impact programs. However, you will also want to introduce your congregation to diaspora groups in your own community or region for both global vision casting and ministry impact.

Here are some ideas:

  1. Research or map your local ethnic communities. The www.PeopleGroups.Info website with its interactive map is a good place to start. Additional free information is available from American Factfinder, The Policy Map, or Pew Foundation.  Other services provide in-depth demographical data for a wide range of prices. While all of these sources will be helpful, engaging your own congregation in mapping the ethnic groups around you will not only provide the best information but will also quickly launch them into cross-cultural conversations that will be the initial step to relationships.
  2. Learn who is already engaged with diaspora people. In almost every community there are individuals and sometimes organizations that are intentionally ministering to immigrants and refugees. Where to start looking? Find out if there are ESL teachers or bilingual programs in your local schools. Larger cities have welcome centers that serve newcomers. Other churches nearby may have ethnic outreaches. Take others from your church with you as you meet and learn from these sources. See if you can shadow them in their ministry to watch them in action.
  3. Meet with the leaders of local ethnic churches. Begin to build bridges of friendship and look for ways to encourage their ministries. Take your people to share in one of their worship services.
  4. Develop internships for your youth/young adults with local diaspora ministries. One of their internship assignments should be to connect others of your church to some form of immigrant ministry.
  5. Attend the national Refugee Highway Conference Roundtable this summer in Dallas. Your vision will be expanded and you will come home with tools and resources to engage your church more effectively with refugees in your area.

Please share below other ways have you engaged your church with diaspora people around you? If you are reading this via email, submit comments here. If you are a ministry offering some type of introductory exposure/immersion experience, tell us about that too.

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2 thoughts on “Start Here–Close to Home

  1. Our organization offers an adventure to learn more about reaching unreached peoples. It includes a visit to a village. See more at the website below.

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