The Wound Has Healed, but the Scar Still Hurts
An Ecumenical Prophecy

Evangelization Through Immigration

Citizens_New.jpgIn small churches throughout America, the only (quantitative) growth that many pastors see is when new babies are born into an existing family! ;) j/k

Now that we're living in a post-Christian society, many folks are wondering what's in store for America? Will we slip into a spiritual dark ages? Perhaps not -- and our "hope" is coming in a wide variety of color! Christian immagrants are not only changing America, they are changing American Christianity (do I hear an "amen?"). Specifically, their influence is beginning to "de-Europeanize" the Christian faith here. Many have been pointing out that the "center" of Christianity is moving south (i.e. into the Southern Hemisphere) -- specifically Africa and South America (see my blog on "Christianity Heads South"). Anyway, after recently reading an article by R. Stephen Warner in The Christian Century, I began to see this shift from an additional perspective. Here's an excerpt:

Mexican immigrants comprise the largest group of immigrants, and they are overwhelmingly Christian. Others come from predominantly Christian societies, including El Salvador, Guatemala, Ecuador, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and the Philippines. They also immigrate from growing Christian nations, including Ghana, and from multiple-religion countries such as Korea, Vietnam, India, and Lebanon. A few Christians stream in from Europe. Finally, there are Arab-American Christians who have left the Holy Land.
Of those who arrive with no religious preference, such as those from Korea and China, many later become Christians. Seventy-five percent of Korean Americans are Christians, and approximately a third of Chinese-Americans are. A variety of polls and sources show that two-thirds of new immigrants are Christian.

I see this as fantastic! We've known for years that churches from other nations have been sending missionaries to the U.S. And the trend for believers to immigrate into this country will definitely have an positive impact on our nation, it's laws, and (eventually) perhaps even its morality. My only point of concern is that I hope existing churches, denominations and groups will actively pursue relationship and dialog with these believing immigrants and the communities of faith which will inevitably be formed as they come. Believers from abroad have a refreshingly different perspective about our faith and living it out. They are not tainted by the consumerism, materialism, and individualism that has infiltrated the American Church. And maybe they will be the key -- the key to helping The Church in American to figure out how to truly become a missional church.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Very interesting indeed. I think the non-consumeristic thing will be huge. "What? Church isn't about my needs?" Just what's needed.

The comments to this entry are closed.