When I was a child, the neighborhoods around me were either white or black. I remember only one Asian student, and she spoke with an Alabama accent, so I’m not sure that counts. The only Spanish I heard was in Spanish class, and most of that was unintelligible. The demographic composition began to change, however, after I became an adult. Now I have neighbors who are Hindus. A family from Thailand owns a business a few doors from mine, and a gentleman from Pakistan operates a gas station not far from my elementary school. How should our churches respond to this demographic shift? We should praise God. The world is coming, and we have a message of grace for them.
- D. Payne, a minister at The Church of Brook Hills, believes that God has orchestrated the migration of non-Christians to our country for a purpose – the building of His kingdom. In his book, Strangers Next Door/Immigration, Migration and Mission (InterVarsity Press), Payne explores the missional opportunities which immigration affords the American church. He offers clear examples of how churches can reach the mission fields in their own neighborhoods. America now has immigrants from over three hundred unreached people groups, people whom God loves and for whom Christ died. We should not be afraid of their presence. We should welcome them, befriend them, and do what Jesus instructed us to do – make disciples of all nations.
A few minutes after writing the first paragraph of this article, I assisted a young man in my bookstore. He left that day with his very first Bible and some advice on what portions to read first. In the next few days he will read the story of Jesus and encounter the Savior of the world. He is beloved by God. He is sought by Christ. He is an immigrant from Tanzania.
–Darrel Holcombe, Owner
Sanctuary Christian Books and Gifts
Colonial Promenade, Alabaster