by Ron Leonard, Missions Pastor
The Winter 2016 issue of Facts and Trends magazine reported the following numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau, 2014:
+ An estimated 42.4 million people in the United States are immigrants
+ Immigrants account for 13 percent of the total U.S. population of 318 million
The world is literally coming to the doorstep of the church in North America. The question is how will the church respond--both organizationally and as individual believers? Here are a few actions you can take as a faithful follower of Christ:
1.) Pray that the Lord of the harvest will send out workers into His harvest field. (Matthew 9:38)
Most often when we read this verse, we envision the "field" being somewhere else. But Jesus was seeing the people who were like sheep without a shepherd. Now, perhaps more than ever, we are in the middle of a culturally diverse harvest field in the United States! Opportunities to truly reach people groups once considered unreachable in other countries are now within our sight.
2.) Get out of your "comfort/culture" zone.
As you pray, realize that God is giving you opportunities to encounter people and build cross-cultural relationships as never before. Yes, we should take the message of Jesus around the world, but we should also engage with people here and now. Listen to, learn from, and love people of different cultures. Most importantly, love enough to lead them to know of God's love for the world. (see John 3:16)
3.) Raise up a generation for global impact.
Lead your children, grandchildren, and students to engage the people of the world with the Good News of Jesus. Christ's followers were commissioned to go make disciples. Paul was obligated to both the Greeks and non-Greeks, to the wise and foolish. Are we as eager to preach the gospel as Paul was?
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile." (Romans 1:16 NIV)
These are only a few resources and suggestions. How will your faith be lived out in our changing world? How will you build cross-cultural relationships and share Jesus?