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Pastors who need practical resources for addressing the refugee crisis


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  • Various print, web and video resources on helping refugees:

In the face of the largest wave of global human migration since World War II, the church has discovered an enormous opportunity to share God’s love and grace with those in desperate need of a safe home and a safe community.

The Foursquare Church has chosen to consider those coming to our shores as persons made in the image of God—new neighbors and friends “appointed [to our] boundaries” so that some might “reach out for Him and find Him” (Acts 17:26-27, NIV).

Christ awaits our response to this present crisis. As we grapple with cultural and religious differences, let us never forget that those we help may help lead us back to the purity and power of our own redemptive faith. May we join in Christ’s work to transform people and places through simple acts of kindness. May we share the eternal hope only Jesus offers.

This guide provides some simple steps and many resources to help you and your church participate in one of the greatest missional movements of our day. Updates will be made to this guide as needed.

Table of Contents

Resource Description
What the Bible Says About How to Treat Refugees Printed in Relevant Magazine, this short list of Scriptures outlines what the Bible says about how to treat immigrants, refugees and displaced persons. The references describe God’s heart for these who make up a modern-day diaspora.
Caring for Refugees: 7 Bible Principles Clarify What God Expects of Us Gospel Outreach presents ways the Bible encourages nations, churches and individual Christians to relate to refugees. Scripture references reinforce God’s abiding concern for refugees and form the basis of our care.
Refugees in the Bible The Bible is filled with references to “aliens” and “strangers.” This document, presented by International Association for Refugees (IAFR) simply brings into focus stories of forcibly displaced people in the Bible.
World Relief’s “A Church Leader’s Tool Kit to the Syrian Refugee Crisis” To address the Syrian refugee crisis, World Relief’s tool kit briefly describes the church’s care for the refugee as integral to our faithfulness to Scripture, our call to discipleship and our participation in the mission of God. (See “Discerning How to Address the Syrian Refugee Crisis at your Church” and “Sermon Outline.”)
Crossroads of the Nations: Diaspora, Globalization, and Evangelism by Jared Looney This book is an important read for churches and leaders addressing today’s massive global migration. Jared Looney emphasizes how resettlement of refugees and immigrants closes the geographic gap between Christian witness (proclamation and service) and representatives of unreached ethnic groups from around the world, opening possibilities to reach the world for Christ.
God’s Heart for the Foreigner This video from Frontier Mission presents an overview of what the Bible says about foreigners and addresses a Christian response to refugees, immigrants and international students.

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Resource Description
Office of Refugee Resettlement Find out who is eligible for assistance from the Office of Refugee Resettlement and ways to help them integrate in the United States.
Preparing to Volunteer with Refugees The Foursquare Church’s Refugee Care Network actively seeks to prepare pastors and church members for volunteer work with refugees. Review this reflective document, designed for individual use, and prayerfully prepare before beginning your ministry with refugees.
Cultural Orientation Resource Center It’s not just refugees who need cultural orientation. Church workers do, too. The Cultural Orientation Resource Center is a one-stop shop for population backgrounders and interactive games to put yourself in a refugee’s story. Starting your involvement here will build your compassion and understanding. Also, see the Video Orientation on Refugee Resettlement, Backgrounders on the various populations being resettled in the U.S. and FAQs on Refugees.
U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants’ Refugee Security Screening Process Learn about what is involved in the rigorous process for a refugee to be granted refugee status in the U.S.
Voluntary Agencies Contracted by the Office of Refugee Resettlement These government-contracted agencies drive refugee resettlement activities in the U.S. Not every agency is represented in every city, but all metropolitan areas have an office of one or more of these agencies to serve refugees and recruit and equip local volunteers to assist them in the process.
Creating a Culture of Welcome This video, produced by Lutheran Immigrant and Refugee Service, describes why volunteers are so important. The four-minute film features the many ways volunteerism transforms the lives of both refugees and volunteers.
To Find a Friend The Minnesota Council of Churches, an affiliate of Episcopal Migration Ministries, shares the story of a volunteer-refugee friendship in action. The clip is approximately three minutes in length.
Refugee Volunteer Recruitment Introduction Video Welcoming America offers this nine-minute introduction for recruiting volunteers. It offers ways churches and individuals can partner with federal and local agencies.
The Power of Relationships World Relief’s brief documentary on the mutual friendship that developed between a volunteer and the refugee she mentored.

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Resource Description
Practical Ways Your Church Can Help Refugees Written by a ministry leader in The Foursquare Church's Northeast Atlantic District, this article has practical tips, resources and prayer recommendations for churches who want to serve refugees, from any nation, recently arrived on U.S. soil.
Best Practices for Congregations Engaging in Refugee Resettlement Ministry Created by the Episcopal Migration Ministries, this orientation tool for your church’s volunteer team(s) should be read before working with refugees. It explains the dos and don’ts of volunteering with refugees and resettlement organizations.
Checklist for Congregations In the formation of teams for welcoming refugees, this step-by-step guide shares how to educate church members, partner with local organizations, and utilize self-care practices for church members.
Congregations Welcoming Families Need ideas for how your church congregation can welcome refugee families in your local area? View tips from Church World Service (CWS).
Church Mobilization Plan Work with World Relief to get a custom-designed plan to mobilize your church from the platform you have to help refugees in your community.
Engaging in the Syrian Refugee Crisis The most current refugee crisis originates with the war in Syria. World Relief, an evangelical, government-endorsed, voluntary agency, has set up We Welcome Refugees to equip and mobilize the church to bring life and hope.

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Resource Description
U.S. Voluntary Refugee Resettlement Agencies The U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement endorses nine federally funded voluntary agencies that serve as a bridge between overseas offices and camps and the U.S. These are called VOLAGS. Find one near you.
U.S. Map of Refugee Resettlement Volunteer opportunities vary from state to state. The U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement provides a handy location tool for each of the nine voluntary agencies (VOLAGS), presenting ways to get involved: fundraising, advocacy and awareness, mentoring a refugee family or volunteering at a local agency in your area. Find the closest local resettlement agency to where you live.
Hire Global Talent Do you own a business? Do you work for a business? Refugees are documented to work as soon as they hit U.S. soil. Discover the benefits when companies hire refugees. CNN Money and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants team up to show how business owners can help refugees while helping their business and their community.
How to Help Refugees Want to help, but have questions? Review these FAQs on how to get involved in U.S. refugee resettlement. Created by the International Rescue Committee.
Unaccompanied Refugee Minors The U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement offers opportunities to serve as foster parents to refugee children separated from their parents, temporarily or permanently. Several U.S. cities, in conjunction with either the United States Council of Catholic Bishops or Lutheran Refugee and Immigration Services, host programs to effectively place qualified children.
Reuniting Refugee Families: Legal Q+A When a refugee asks for your help to get their family to the U.S., don’t forget about government requirements and immigration laws. Not sure what those include? Foursquare immigration coordinator Joe Gosha offers case-by-case recommendations.

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Resource Description
Project Sanctuary: Prayer Points Discover three starting prayer points, and accompaniment Scriptures, to lead your Foursquare church to pray for refugees as they flee conflict in Syria and Northern Iraq. Created by Foursquare Disaster Relief.
Pray for Refugees This website created by World Vision, World Relief and several partner organizations offers a guide designed for the Lent season, but applies at any time of year. Stories are accompanied by brief prayers to offer on behalf of refugees—for peace, human dignity and relief of suffering.
Pray for People Affected by Conflict in Syria This prayer aid for Syrian Refugee includes pictures and descriptions of the conditions and challenges that face those fleeing war-torn nations. Created by World Vision.

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Resource Description
The Crescent Project The Crescent Project provides a six-session DVD training and practical books to reaching your Muslim neighbor.
Encountering Islam Encountering Islam provides a more in-depth, online “Perspectives”-type course to understanding Islam.
Shah Afshar: Reaching Muslims In many Muslim cultures, core values include honor and shame. Iranian Christian Shah Afshar delivers an in-depth look at these in contexts of evangelism and serving Muslim communities. Filmed live at The Foursquare Church’s 2014 Multiethnic Training.
The Muslim Next Door: Uncovering Myths and Creating Friendships by Shirin Taber This book, published by Zondervan in 2004, gives practical ways to develop friendships with Muslims, and helps readers overcome fear and false prejudices.
Muslims, Christians, and Jesus by Carl Medearis Published in 2008 by Bethany House Publishers, this book shares practical ideas and personal stories to help believers build loving relationships with Muslims.
The Rise Project This video/workbook resource about caring for International Students includes an episode about “More Than a Refugee: Understanding the Resettlement Journey.”

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Resource Description
Minister to the Nations Minister to the Nations is a new blog dedicated to helping believers reach out to our neighbors from different cultures and religions.
Urban and Multicultural Impact (UMCI) UMCI is a ministry of the International Hope Center in Hamtramck, Mich., home to one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the U.S., with over 20 languages spoken in its borders. UMCI provides teams with seminar training and ministry opportunities to reach out cross-culturally.
A Biblical Perspective on Welcoming the Stranger In a world where millions of people are migrating, what does it mean to be the church? Bible scholar Daniel Carroll explains a biblical perspective on immigrants and refugees. Recorded live at The Foursquare Church’s 2011 Multiethnic Summit.
Foreign to Familiar: A Guide to Understanding Hot- and Cold- Climate Cultures by Sarah A. Lanier This book offers concise help to increase cultural understanding. Published by McDougal Publishing Company in 2000.
International Students Inc. and IVCF International Student Ministry International Students Inc. and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF)’s International Student Ministry, though geared to international students on college campuses, both offer materials on how to reach out cross-culturally to visitors to our nation.
Sent to Foreign Neighbors As the world comes to the U.S., Foursquare pastors emphasize overcoming cultural barriers. Learn how to reach the different cultures and nations that are right around the corner from your church, in this session recorded live at Foursquare Connection 2015.
Seeking Refuge by Stephen Bauman, Matthew Soerens and Issam Smeir This World Relief publication deals specifically with “refugee facts”—defining who refugees are, the risks and benefits of receiving them, and how compassion and security are balanced. This book also describes the role of the Church in today’s refugee crisis, offering specific ways to help those within and beyond our borders.
Jenny Yang on Refugees at the Justice Conference 2016 Jenny Yang, World Relief, highlights the importance of each individual refugee and underscores how refugees are transforming the life of the church.

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Resource Description
2016 GC2 Summit on the Church and the Global Refugee Crisis and the Christian Response In ~20-minute videos, GC2 Summit speakers include John Azumah, who brings an understanding of Islam and ISIS; Bill Hybels and Rich Stearns, who address how to lead other leaders in helping refugees; and Stephen Bauman, who talks about the human migration crisis in relationship to the Great Commandment. Each video is appropriate for small group viewing and dialogue.
A Future With Hope: Welcoming Refugees Church World Service offers this video about welcoming all refugees, combining stories, history and education. The 15-minute film contains some graphic pictures and is best-suited for adult viewing.
Faces of Resettlement This 10-minute video offered by the Cultural Orientation Resource Center presents the stories of five refugees making positive contributions to their new U.S. communities.
The Dangerous Boat Ride to Greece Through the Eyes of a Syrian Refugee Girl Told in Arabic with English subtitles, this heart-wrenching story features a young Syrian girl on her journey on a boat away from Syria. Appropriate for children and adults, this three-minute UNICEF video introduces the topic of refugees.
Syria's Child Refugees: You Feel That They Have Lost Their Hearts Syrian teens and children describe why they left Syria, what life is like in the camps and their dreams for the future. This contains graphic descriptors of violence, suitable for teens and adults. Presented by The Guardian, this three-minute clip can spark discussion around empathy for those leaving behind their homes.
From Syrian Refugee to Wonderkid in Germany: Mohammed Jaddou From Copa90 (Soccer Club), watch an interview with a young soccer player about his life in Syria on the national soccer team, the danger he faced daily, and his escape to Europe. Warning: Video shows graphic scenes of injured people and war. Nine minutes in length, it is great for youth groups or young adult groups.
National Refugee Sunday 2015 Designed for churches wanting to host a Refugee Sunday, Q Ideas presents a video that challenges believers to move beyond political debate to love. Warning: This four-minute video does contain graphic images of Syrian war, suitable for teens and adults.
Born Unto Us: Jesus the Refugee This two-minute Christmas-focused video draws parallels between Jesus’ flight to Egypt as a baby and the experiences of refugees today. Created by World Relief.
Stories of Syria’s Lost Generation Narrated by children, this three-minute video tells what it is like to live as a displaced child. Some children tell disturbing stories, but there are no visuals of war or people being harmed. With general audience appeal, it encourages viewers to support groups, such as World Vision, who are working in refugee camps. Presented by World Vision.
Syria: The World's Largest Refugee Crisis This very in-depth and helpful video from Foreign Policy Association explains the political upheaval and tensions that led to the Syrian civil war. It includes interviews with former U.S. ambassadors to the region and many leaders in aid agencies and the U.N. It emphasizes helping the countries surrounding Syria to deal with the huge number of refugees they have received and to keep stability in the region. It is helpful for pastors and leaders to watch to be informed. 26 minutes in length.
Syria: The Search for Refuge World Relief’s video story of a Syrian refugee who becomes a student in Canada.

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Resource Description
German Church Welcomes Refugees As Syrian refugees flood into Germany, Foursquare Pastor Ewald Zelmer invites believers to see refugees’ arrival as an opportunity for the gospel. In a six-minute video, watch how his church is welcoming weary travelers and discipling refugees to reach Arabic-speaking communities. Produced by The Foursquare Church.
A Bhutanese Blessing Refugees can come from anywhere in the world. Years ago, families fled Bhutan, leading two men who are now U.S. Foursquare pastors to seek shelter in Nepal. In this 10-minute interview, hear how they led Hindus to Christ in camps, and now pastor Nepalese churches in the U.S. Filmed live at Foursquare Connection 2015.
Foursquare Cares for ISIS-Attacked Refugees From a refugee camp in Turkey, Foursquare Pastor Huseyin Ocek shares stories of families who fled violence in Syria and Iraq and sought refuge in his hometown. Filmed by Foursquare Disaster Relief, this three-minute clip illustrates how Foursquare churches are caring for survivors in crisis.
How God Is Moving Amid the Refugee Crisis Amid the largest migration of people since World War II, God is moving. From Turkey, one Foursquare worker shares how his community’s perception of Christians has changed as a result of his church’s work to care for refugees in their neighborhood.
Foursquare Responds to Syrian Refugee Crisis New to the refugee crisis happening right now in the Middle East? Take two minutes, and watch as Chad Isenhart, international operations chief for Foursquare Disaster Relief, visits refugee camps in Turkey and shares how we can be the church for many in their hour of need.
Foursquare Cares for Child Survivors of War In Turkey, Foursquare churches are on the front lines of caring for Middle East refugees, many of whom are children. There, Rabia Tufan ministers to disabled children. Hear her three-minute testimony about God’s miraculous healing for one refugee boy, as told to Foursquare Disaster Relief.
Why Turkey Needs Your Best Church Workers Turkey is home to many New Testament stories, but it’s a modern-day Muslim nation. Today, as this nation becomes a refugee hub, Foursquare church workers are needed more than ever. Watch this five-minute video by Foursquare Missions International, and pray about your part to play.

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Resource Description
Hosting Refugees: A Story of Love, Hospitality and Transformation Annette McCabe Hammond, local outreach pastor of Grace (Camas Foursquare Church) in Camas, Wash., shares the profound difference that simple hospitality can make in the lives of refugees and faith community members. See what can happen when you and your church “make room!”

Have a story of experiences with refugees in your community? We’d love to hear how Foursquare members and churches are reaching out to those resettled in their cities. Please submit stories to Joe Gosha.

Contributors: Joe Gosha, Annette McCabe Hammond, Sam Johnson, Bethany Seremet, Allyson Siwajian and Sue Spousta. Additional ideas contributed by members of the Foursquare Refugee Care Network.