The Missouri Baptist Convention realizes that most Christians in the St. Louis area missed a significant opportunity 20 years ago when many Bosnian refugees fled to their city. The refugee communities largely became closed off and self-dependent, and today they remain difficult to reach with the Gospel. In light of that, the convention is making plans to help welcome the 800 refugees from across the world—primarily from Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Afghanistan and the Congo. An additional 1200 are scheduled for next year.
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Why this story matters for church leaders:
Refugees will continue to pose challenges for state, local, and federal governments, and churches need to decide how they will use these opportunities to reach out to people who have lost everything.
- The Clarity of Hindsight: While the St. Louis Baptists can see with perfect clarity that they missed opportunities in the past, could some churches look back on today in 20 years and see the same opportunities missed?
- Record-Setting Refugees: Instability in Central America, western Africa, and the Middle East ensure that we will face a record number of refugees for years to come.
- Refugee Partnerships: Most churches don’t have the resources on their own to support refugee families, but with the help of larger groups, such as state-wide conventions, they can tap into more resources.
Are there opportunities in your community to help refugees?
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