The Roadmap To A Home Away From Home.
01 Aug 2020 | Ps. Terrence Haynes | St.Vincent & the Grenadines Mission
More specific interventions that can be conducted to minister to the needs of the migrants are as follows:
- Visitation – following up on expressed spiritual needs or providing support and/or counselling.
- Small Group Formation and Activities – ministering to a variety of needs, inclusive of social and spiritual hungers, in a relational and safe environment.
- Prayer Ministry – praying for the needs of the migrant and their relatives
- Bible Study – studying scriptures for edification and with the intent that it hopefully leads to baptism and discipleship.
- Center of Influence – rendering such services as language learning, Skill development (e.g. Healthy-cooking classes, cottage industry development), Social events (sharing of food and culture), Recreational activities.
- Children ministry – supporting the needs of the children of migrants
- Sport Ministry – involving the church members, especially the youth in sporting activities that build camaraderie and which would witness to the Christian lifestyle
It must be noted that the above is not meant to be an exhaustive list but merely an enumeration to provide an idea of the kinds of deliberate, long-term interventions needed within this type of ministry.
The forgone discussion clearly underscores the need for an intentional, well-articulated strategy to meet the needs of the migrant. Certainly, one approach cannot meet the needs of such a vast and diverse group on the move. However, what is critical is commitment to the task, and surrender to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
The Church’s prophetic understanding using the Historicist method of interpretation states that the Church is currently at the time of the end where persons will be in search of the good news of the gospel. Persons seeking security and an improved well-being will be the searchers and, therefore, this will be a migrant people. As a result, there appears to be no likelihood that within the near future this migration of people will end. Evidently, the Caribbean Union territory can already bear witness to this occurrence.
This movement poses a challenge, as well as an opportunity for the Church. It is a challenge for the Church when congregations are disrupted because families emigrate in search of a better way of life due to socio-economic, political or climate-related problems. But, this movement offers an opportunity for the Church as immigrants come into its community and in their new ‘home away from home’ they can accept Jesus as Saviour and be nurtured as faithful disciples who in turn can assist in the conversion of their peers and/or family members to Jesus.
The Church has a clear biblical heritage and theological understanding of this process in both the Old and New Testament. It, also, has the mandate from Jesus to proceed with this ministry that includes migrants. In doing this, the church is fulfilling the great commission of making disciples of all ethnicities – nations or group of individuals.
The Church is not left to guess as to what this ministry can look like, because Christ demonstrated it to His disciples by the way He accepted the strangers during His three and a half years of ministry. Ellen White, commenting on this noted that, “Christ's method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, “Follow Me.”
The strategies employed by the Church certainly must be adapted to the context of the individual membership and community. However, the strategies are unified in their approach. Each local congregation will utilize the talents and gifts of persons practicing cross-cultural servanthood, and while committed to Jesus and His mission they develop salvific relationships with this special group of persons to empower them to render service to God and to their fellow men.
To achieve this will call for a united body of believers intentionally planning, and fostering commitment in each participant, and investing both time and resources while remaining sensitive to the leading of God and the needs of these individuals.
Editor’s Note: Ps. Terence Haynes is Director for PARL, Spirit of Prophecy, ASI among others. The spirit of enquiry has desired that he examine the phenomenon of migration and to explore the strategy/strategies that the church could use as it caters to the needs of those who are away from home and need a groundings within the church community. May we allow the Holy Spirit to let us embrace the mission and see the vision as we welcome those who need a home away from home.
Ps. Terence Haynes is Director for PARL, Spirit of Prophecy, ASI among others.