Today, millions of people are seeking safety and security as they flee violence, war, and persecution. Authorities say we are facing the worst refugee crisis since World War II. Whether it is through news or social media, we are bombarded daily with images that clearly depict the chaos many are living in right now. You may be asking yourself, What can I do? Here’s a list of five practical ways you can minister to people who have been displaced.
It all starts with prayer! God’s word urges us to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (Ephesians 6:18, NIV). Do not underestimate the power of prayer.
- Pray for wisdom for church leaders in Europe and the Middle East as they minister to refugee families in Jesus’ name.
- Pray for peace for children and adults who have been traumatized.
- Pray for health for families who are sleeping outside or in inadequate shelters in the cold and rain.
- Pray for the presence of God to be felt and a spirit of peace to reign in the midst of crisis.
Refugees left their homes, familiar communities, and loved ones because they had to.Many refugees have made comments like this: “We are tempted to return to Syria. It would be better to die quickly there rather than die slowly as a refugee.” Put yourself in their shoes. Ask the hard questions. What is the refugee crisis? Why are there so many refugees right now? Why is there a war in Syria? What’s the difference between refugees and migrants? How might the Bible inform our thinking about this situation? Take this a step further and seek answers to these questions.
Start by checking out: WORLD RELIEF’S REFUGEE CRISIS FAQ’s
Once you have learned more about the refugee crisis, begin to raise awareness. Talk to your friends about this. Share resources with people in your church. Seek ways to educate the people in your community. Use social media and other platforms to spread the word. “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed “(Proverbs 31:8, NLT).
Local churches in Jordan and Lebanon have been ministering to refugees from Syria, Iraq and other countries in many ways for more than four years. Nazarenes in Germany have been ministering to refugees for years – and are now gearing up to minister to the new influx coming in. Nazarenes in England are ministering to asylum seekers. Recently, on a cold and rainy Saturday night in the Croatian/Slovenian border, there were an estimated 2,000 people in need of shelter. The only tents available that night were those purchased with gifts made through NCM and distributed by Nazarene volunteers. Nazarene churches are helping refugee families by providing food, water, and shelter. Education and safety is being offered to children who are refugees. Donations from hundreds of Nazarenes around the world are making a difference. You can support efforts to minister to refugee families by giving to the NCM Refugee Support Fund.
Refugees from Syria and many other countries can be found in communities throughout the Middle East, Europe, the United States, Canada, and other areas around the world. Take action. Seek the refugees in your community. Invite them into your life. Get your church involved. From offering weekly language classes to providing safe spaces for refugee families during the daytime, churches can use their resources to welcome refugees in their community. Learn more about how you and your church can respond to the crisis from within your community with NCM’s How You Can Help Displaced People Toolkit.
To learn more about the church’s outreach to refugees around the world, visit ncm.org/refugees.