So, what does it mean for Christians to live as “Welcomers” in this present time, extending hospitality to the stranger, as laid out in Scripture?
The following characteristics are ones that we believe comprise the heart of a Welcomer – 12 marks that we pray for in our own lives and to be evident in The Bridge ministry, by God’s grace:How can #Christians welcome #immigrants & #refugees? Here are 12 key points. Click To Tweet
1. Welcomers value diversity. Welcomers prefer the kaleidoscope over one single color. We serve a God of creativity and variety, and Welcomers are thrilled to see God’s creativity present in the unique nature of each person.
2. Welcomers embrace humility. Welcomers do not have the posture of king, but of servant. They are teachable and willing to receive. They choose to coach rather than demand and to lead by example rather than force.
3. Welcomers walk alongside. Welcomers agree with John the Baptist, that “I am not the Christ.” Rather than attempting to save the world, Welcomers journey beside individuals and point them to the One Savior (John 14:6).
4. Welcomers have visible faith, as described in Matthew 25:31-46 and James 2. Welcomers meets physical needs for food, housing, clothing and others and see the act as an opportunity to build a mutual friendship.
5. Welcomers are generous. They give their time, one of the most precious commodities in North American culture, as well as their resources. They generously give insight and wisdom in regards to North American culture in order to ease transition for the newcomer. They hold their blessings with an open hand.
6. Welcomers are intentional. They see opportunities in the daily grind to engage with people, to bless people, to care for people. They make good use of time and mundane tasks – whether they are at the park, the grocery store, in the workplace, or sitting on their front porch.
7. Welcomers are first citizens of Heaven (Philippians 3:20). Welcomers are not territorial about their earthly dwelling and their first allegiance is to their Heavenly King.
8. Welcomers embrace children. Welcomers embrace not just their own children, but all children. Jesus loved children, and Welcomers also care for them and bless them.
9. Welcomers are willing to be inconvenienced and are sacrificial. Welcomers realize that relationships are messy and people are needy, but grace is free. And, Welcomers recognize that real love always requires sacrifice and cost.
10. Welcomers are community-driven, not individualistic. Welcomers want to be rich in friendships. They value the input of a community, networks, and fellowship; they are not lone-rangers. They believe in and support the Church (locally and universally) as God’s plan for His people to be in community with one another.
11. Welcomers have thick skin and broad shoulders. Welcomers realize that cultural misunderstanding happen and communication breaks down, yet they choose to not be easily offended. Their relational work is intense and often uphill. Welcomers do not rely on the fragility of good feelings and accolades as fuel, but draw from a greater Source beyond themselves in order to persevere.
12. Welcomers are big picture people. They understand that their piece is part of a bigger plan, God’s story. Welcomers embrace their small part and have eyes to see what’s going on locally, globally, and eternally.
“From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him.” Acts 17:26-27
As Christians living in this time and place in history, let’s consider how God has called each of us to respond with welcoming hearts and attitudes.
May we live out our faith in a way that glorifies our God, making much of Him and His grace to us.