The effects of globalization in today’s world are impossible to miss. Not only does it entail a blending of economies and business but it could also mean the beginning of a new missional trend, should we the Church recognize it. People are on the move and God is orchestrating it in such a way that He is bringing unreached people groups to cities all over the world. As of 2013, the United Nations estimates there are 46 million international migrants living in the United States – that is 14% of our population! J.D. Payne in his book Strangers Next Door estimates there are approximately 361 UPGS within our borders. No longer is a passport and visa a requirement to do cross-cultural work. As the Church we merely need to look around us and be intentional! Below are just a few simple ways to meet the nations that God is bringing to your doorstep! This by no means is an exhaustive list but hopefully an easy starting point.
1. Eat at an ethnic restaurant or shop at an ethnic store.
It doesn’t matter what country you are from food is always a must. Why not branch out of your comfort zone and try something new? Try asking Google about ethnic restaurants or Halal (food deemed ‘permissible’ under Islamic law) food near you. Maybe your next small group meeting can be a dinner outing. Be intentional with talking to your waiter/waitress.
2. Visit another place of worship.
You will probably be surprised to find that there is a Hindu Mandir (temple), Islamic Mosque, Sikh Temple, etc. nearby. Go online and schedule a visit. You will probably also be surprised at how welcoming they will be to visitors. Be humble. Be a learner. Don’t argue but instead look for “bridges” to the gospel message of Jesus. Try inviting them to church!
“We must be Global Christians with a Global Vision because we serve a Global God.”
– John Stott Tweet
3. Find where English as a Second Language (ESL) is being offered and get involved.
Most cities and college campuses would love to have more individuals and families volunteer to help teach English to the internationals coming to the U.S. Whether it is teaching a formal class or helping more on a one-on-one tutoring, ESL is a great way to meet a felt need while at the same time getting to know a new friend. It is only natural to talk about family, hobbies, culture, job, etc. And why you are at it, why not ask them to teach you some of their language? Instead of just a teacher you have become a trader of information. Now maybe you can try trading spiritual stories; your personal testimony or specific Bible stories.
4. Host an international family or student.
In 2013/14 the number of international students in the U.S. reached a record high of 886,0521 and then there is an additional 267,222 refugees and 187,826 asylum seekers2. This provides the Church an amazing opportunity to “welcome the foreigner” (check out Leviticus 19:34). Try hosting an international student for a semester or two. Or maybe as a small group you can “adopt” a refugee family through World Relief. This may very well be one of the most strategic ways to reach the nations that God is bringing to our backyard.
Please share with us about other ways you have found it easy to meet the nations in your context! And remember, as you are going – make disciples!