A group of evangelical leaders has come together to urge Christians to be driven by faith and compassion – not by fear – when it comes to the refugee crisis.
While the leaders focus on reaching out in the name of Jesus to refugees coming to America, they acknowledge that security is an important issue. "We don't believe that compassion and security are mutually exclusive realities – and we think both can be there and have been there and will continue to be there," says Ed Stetzer, senior fellow of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism and executive director of LifeWay Research.
The group of leaders from both non-profit and denominational organizations says they will let the politicians debate security while they encourage Christians to step up to the plate. And that's exactly what's happening, according to Jenny Yang with World Relief.
"In the past couple of months, we've actually seen an increase in the number of churches that are responding positively," she shares. "So it's been tremendous how many churches are ... stepping up to the plate and ... welcoming [the refugees]."
Ditto, says Joann Lyon of The Wesleyan Church. "We're having people ask Where can we help? Who can we talk to? There's some really positive things happening there, too – people wanting to step in and do something."
And Frank Page with the Southern Baptist Convention points out the denomination has been involved with refugee relocation for a long time. "We've not seen a diminution, but we're going to see an increase in churches step up to the plate," he predicts.
The evangelical leaders are also planning a church-equipping event that will take place at Wheaton College in suburban Chicago on January 20.