What an Opportunity for the Church!
(Before reading this, I strongly urge you to read the last post. This is really a Part 2. There should be at least one more post on this topic in the next week.)
In my last post I talked about the rapidly changing demographics that are occurring here in America. The immigrant population is booming, forcing business, political parties, education, the media, the arts, and yes, the Church, to adjust accordingly. For the Church, this should not be viewed as some awful thing we must endure, but rather as an opportunity!
We should probably also note that the immigrant influx is not unique to the United States and Canada. Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America are all undergoing significant demographic shifts as a result of immigration. In 2010, at the Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization, held in Cape Town, South Africa, one of the dominant themes to emerge was what is now being called “Peoples on the Move.” The statistics of how the peoples of the world are moving around is amazing. As might be expected, these changes bring considerable social unrest, especially as the second generation immigrants find themselves caught between the old culture (in which they are somewhat unfamiliar) and a new culture in which they are not fully accepted. They are often unfairly categorized as ungrateful, lazy, or stubborn. But research is also showing that these immigrant groups are overall the most open to the Gospel. They are feeling displaced and lack the sense of community that often they have. There is also an openness to explore aspects of their new culture. What an opening for the Church!
Getting back to America, research has suggested that well over 90% of those living here in the U.S. from another country never even enter into a home of a native-born American. We can always find excuses such as the awkwardness of the situation or the language/cultural barriers. The bottom line, though, is that such statistics are a shame on Christians. Remember what happened in John 4 after Jesus had that conversation with that Samaritan woman? You know, she was the woman that shared with the entire town about the One who told her everything she had ever done. His disciples were so concerned about the food that they did not even see this Samaritan woman. Jesus told His disciples to “lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.” (John 4:35). Many believed because of this woman, yet the disciples did not have their spiritual eyes opened.
While some are bemoaning the changes that are happening in the world today, especially as it pertains to changing demographics, the Church should recognize that it is God’s love for the peoples of the world that has allowed and even orchestrated this great movement of peoples around the world! He desires to place more and more unreached peoples within the reach of discerning and Kingdom-minded disciples. May we be part of that company of disciples! May we lift up our eyes and look on the fields to see how they are white for harvest!