“‘They’re coming into our country. They’re taking our jobs. They’re dangerous people.’” From Middle Eastern war zones to African refugee camps to European elections to American airports and border walls – the migrant has never been a more controversial figure! Mission-minded Christians want to tell a different story: “God has brought the nations to us. We’re called to welcome the stranger. And we have good news to share with them.”
But what if, without knowing it, we’ve been spinning our own migrant myths? What if, because we love mission so much, we’ve created our own “us/them” mentality? What if we’ve assumed all the foreign families moving into our suburbs should be the objects of our evangelism when God wants them to be our mission partners?
Here are some myths we might have bought into:
Myth ##1: “Nearly everyone migrating across borders is from another religion.”
Christians make up 49% of the world’s 214 million international migrants . Many of these are settling into far more secular, non-Christian corners of the world than where they came from – Canada, Europe, and US cities on the east and west coasts. The largest church in Europe is led by a Nigerian immigrant .
Myth ##2: “There are far more Muslims coming into America than Christians.”
Over 60% of immigrants coming into America each year are Christians. 74% of the 43 million foreign-born living in America are Christians . Even among refugees taken in 2016, the US still took virtually as many Christians as Muslims . So, most of those “strangers next door” are already our brothers and sisters in Christ!