How Can Western Christians Respond to the Syrian Refugee Crisis?
Let me admit a few things on the upfront. This is a complicated situation in the world that requires appropriate thought and response from world leaders of which, I am not. I do understand leadership a little though and realize that sometimes “we the people” do not have all of the information that leaders have. I am not claiming to be an expert on the situation. For the record, I am from Texas and generally happy about that in every way possible. I am also conservative in my political leanings because of how I apply Scripture to politics. I have a biblical worldview. I am a disciple of Jesus. I am a pastor. I am also passionate about Syrian refugees because I think Jesus is and because I have sat in dusty streets listening to their plight as they await much needed humanitarian aid. I am not blind. I do think ISIS hides among the refugees. Clearly though, the refugees in general, hate ISIS because ISIS burned their homes or killed their father or raped their sister or trafficked their daughter. I am also a pastor in the American South pushing back against a street sentiment that says “to hell with them” stemming from a sense of fear or anger, sometimes within the church.
A few quick observations:
You can be against ISIS and for refugees.
You can be for border control and for refugees.
The church has a different part to play than the Government. This seems to be very confusing for many Christians in the west. Presidents and Governors have a different role with refugees than the church of Jesus Christ.
The church in the Middle East is mobilized and properly responding!
The church in the West is mobilizing to help the church in the East!
How can I help?
Check your worldview followers of Jesus. Matthew 25:31–46 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Pray for Syrian refugees. We can all do this. Start praying. Here are some basic prayer points.
Give to support churches and ministries working directly with Syrian refugees. Many of your churches are now actively engaging in places like Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan to minister to refugees. Find out if your church is involved. If you would like to give to minister to Syrian Refugees you can give directly to our church. Click this Bay Area link and indicate “UPG” on your giving form. This ensures the money will go directly to help Syrian people through a center we have established in the Middle East to help refugees. Our next effort beyond existing partnerships, is to provide wooden pallets to lift the tents of refugees off the floor of the earth during the winter rains and snow. This kind of practical help demonstrates the love of Christ and opens doors to share the gospel. Another great organization to give to is Middle East Bible Outreach. They are actively engaged with Syrian refugees daily. The International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention is also actively engaged. Baptist Global Response is doing great work with Syrian refugees. Establish a Kingdom partnership.
Go to places where Syrian refugees are living. You can go to Lebanon where an estimated 1.2 million refugees are displaced. You can go to Jordan where an estimated 600,000 refugees are displaced. You can partner with the local church in Lebanon and in Jordan or you can partner with International Mission Board or other missions sending agencies. Go serve people in need. God is at work among these people in miraculous ways. Join Him.
Love the families of Syrian refugees here in America. Look around. If you live in Houston like me, or any urban area for that matter, you will notice Easterners all around you. Some of them have family that you would place in the refugee category. Build a relationship, listen to their story. Love them well. Exercise relentless love.
Push back against the sentiment that all refugees are terrorists.
Encourage and empower the church in the East. I am amazed by my brothers and sisters, especially in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. Truly the church in Lebanon has been persecuted by the Syrians in days gone by. Today, at this very moment, the Lebanese and Jordanian church is mobilized, feeding, clothing, and educating refugee families in the name of Christ. I have seen with my own eyes the fruit of their labor and the expansion of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ in our day because of their labor among the refugees. Go to them. Give to them. Provide hands-on-service along side of them. If you want to engage with the church in the east, come with us or contact the International Mission Board or Middle East Bible Outreach for more information.
We, the church, have a responsibility to do something. What will you do?
7 thoughts on “How Can Western Christians Respond to Syrian Refugees?”
I totally agree that as True Believers in Christ we need to deal with this crisis of refugees on our knees, crying out to Abba for all of them. And yes of course, donating any way possible to support the Churches & Ministries trying to aid & help these poor ppl. Most of them are running from ISIS & Christian persecution. And here goes the BUT….. How can as a Pastor of a Church you aren’t discerning the times we are living in? Our government is NOT on our side & neither is our President. He is Muslim & a communist radical leader, put in place by the Elite to bring forth their New World Order, which will rush in their One World Religion. This crisis of refugees is a double sided coin… We need to help them but protect ourselves at the same time. Obama is letting them in to infiltrate our country to fulfill his agenda. Biblical Prophecy is fulfilling and being played out right before our very eyes! Judgments are about to fall & Jesus is about to collect His Bride any day now & most Churches aren’t awake spiritually to discern this! I would hope your church is wide awake & discerning ALL the signs Father God is sending out & the MANY warnings He is relaying through His Prophets & messengers. The best thing we can do is PRAY for these people & PRAY some more. God is raising up His End Time Army full of Warriors, who are spiritually awake to the times were in, who won’t preach a watered down Gospel.. A very small Remnant, who won’t back down. Who preach Sincere Repentance, separating oneself completely from the world & all it has to offer, walking in complete obedience to God, walking in Holiness & Righteousness daily, fasting, consecration & supplication… I hope Your Church is this way.. An on Fire for God, End Times, Holy Spirit filled, with the gifts of the Spirit flowing.. May the Lord have Mercy on the Lukewarm Churches. GOD Bless you and Shalom.
Dear, “Jesus is coming very soon.” Shalom! Thanks for your comment. As I said in my post, I am addressing the church’s practical response to Syrian refugees. This is not an all encompassing post including governmental responsibilities or apocalyptic ramifications. It is also not a political post. It is a gospel post. Your comment, “But… How can as a Pastor of a Church you aren’t discerning the times we are living in?” is oddly placed and tells me that you have no idea who I am or what I preach. I simply don’t receive your assertion that I don’t discern the times we are living in. You are welcome to visit our website and listen to our messages so that you are more informed. http://www.bafbc.org.
There is a great deal of difference between Christian charity and the help that some are claiming our federal government should supply. First off it is important to distinguish the two. It is also important to recognize that what government does can in no way be termed charity. Taking wealth from citizens for whatever reason eliminates the idea of charity. Secondly it is essential we recognize what the PRIMARY ROLE of the Federal government is, it is spelled out clearly in the Constitution which describes said governments functions and formation. The number one priority is to provide for the common defense. Finally, we must understand that the clause for ‘promoting the general welfare’ has greatly been perverted, it’s intended meaning was well spelled out in the Federalist Papers written by the Framers of the Constitution.
Of course, the focus of this post is the role of the church. As I state the government has a different role than the church but the church needs to recognize its role and act. Thanks for the comment.
Many of us understand how we are expected as Christians to treat others one on one. How do we respond as a Christian in a sovereign Nation who needs to protect it’s own ideologies, borders and citizens? The majority of these “refugees” cleave onto a belief system whose primary objective is to rid the World of those who believe as I do. How do I love my Enemy when he stands at my door with a sword ready & willing to sever my head?
Again, the focus of this post is our Christian responsibility. Truly, the only example I have to follow when it comes to loving people who may want to kill me is that of Christ himself. He did say, “take up your cross, deny yourself, and follow me.” These are hard words that most American Christians have not even thought about how to apply until just now. Thanks for your comment.