Over GMI’s 30 years God has allowed us to serve as an objective third party voice helping ministries to steward knowledge as they seek to be obedient to Christ and increase their impact for Him. Usually that means presenting many sides to each issue and reveling in the various approaches that the Body of Christ brings to any area of need. Sometimes people have been frustrated that we would not take a strong position, but most of the time they are grateful that they can come to us knowing we haven’t already made up our minds or approved a certain method.
At the same time, there are core issues where a response is demanded. This was true when the concept of people groups was first introduced by Dr. Ralph Winter. This concept was so significant to the reframing of God’s mission that GMI didn’t simply treat it as one of many other methods. We gave it a special place as a catalyst to reorient the global mission movement.
The same happened with our focus on making materials available about ministry to Muslims. While a Muslim life is no more valuable in God’s eyes as the life of a Buddhist, there was a special movement of God going on to understand Islam and engage Muslims with Christ’s love. GMI responded by publishing The World of Islam (now out of print) CD, creating countless maps and then engaging very intentionally with the Fruitful Practice Research initiative focused on effectiveness in church planting in the Muslim world.
The same is true today of the Migrant Crisis. The hundreds of millions who are on the move for a variety of reasons represent a moment in history where those who used to be surrounded by sameness (many of them surrounded by darkness with no access to the Gospel) have been exposed to new ways of thinking as they move from their hometowns to the hubs of commerce and opportunity.
It is at this key moment that the Global Church has an opportunity to respond in love, compassion and friendship. This moment when the stranger is new to us and is seeking to belong is the moment where we can show that person who we are and what we believe in an authentic and compassionate way.
This global movement of people has been on the rise, but it is the refugee crisis in particular that has helped the world to see it for what it is. The refugee crisis does not represent all the reasons that people are on the move but it does represent a particularly glaring injustice that is hard to ignore.
The other reason that the movement of people globally is an issue that GMI feels needs addressed, is that it does something few other issues do. It is at once a global phenomenon with far reaching implications for the future of the Church and it is a hyper-local issue that is felt when you walk out of your front door . . . wherever that front door might be in the world. Few issues have the global and local impact so dramatically felt.
It is for these reasons that GMI has put a significant amount of stress on this issue. Now it is important to note that we don’t promote one strategy of engaging migrants or refugees over the other. We are focused on understanding, highlighting and researching all the different approaches. But we do feel that this issue needs more attention and a higher profile because of its significance.
So what have we been doing?
We just released a book called “Serving God in a Migrant Crisis” by Patrick Johnstone with Dean Merrill.
We have released several Missiographics on the issue of migration and refugees. Visit our Missiographics library to view them.
We have provided Evangelical Press Association (Read an article on the forum we facilitated.), Billy Graham Center and Missio Nexus with online toolkits for events held on the issue of refugee response by the Church.
We are offering churches and mission agencies help in understanding diaspora, mapping people on the move and doing research on the impacts of these movements.
What are you doing to respond to the migrant crisis? Are you seeking opportunities to serve the world’s people on the move? Have you recognized the significance of this issue and placed appropriate priority there?