International (MNN) — A lot has changed in the last quarter century, especially in evangelism. Twenty-five years ago, there was so much optimism for sharing the Gospel. Opportunities were opening up in closed countries. But today, all this is changing as the window of opportunity seems to be closing.
“Now we’re facing this massive crisis of refugees brought on by the turmoil in the Middle East. I think it’s one of the greatest humanitarian challenges perhaps ever in history. But it’s also an opportunity for the church to rise to the challenge,” says David Shibley with Global Advance.
And as all eyes are on the Middle East, it’s crucial the church responds.
To meet the challenge, Global Advance has partnered with Alpha Relief as part of their Frontline Relief Initiative. Frontline Relief is a team of believers aiding fellow Christians by providing hope in countries where religious persecution is prevalent.
In other words, Global Advance is branching out from not only equipping and training pastors, but meeting them at their points of need, walking alongside them as they care and provide for both the refugees spiritual and physical needs.
“Many of these pastors who we are training for evangelism and discipleship are also facing upfront and personal the social challenges of their time–particularly the upheaval of families and displacement of believers by the tens of thousands, and now the millions all over the world…. We want to come alongside them and help,” says Shibley.
To do this, Global Advance sends much-needed resources such as blankets, emergency food, Bibles, and other essential supplies to ensure people’s needs are being met. And this wouldn’t happen without the generosity of the church.
But for those who may think giving only a couple of dollars really won’t make a difference, Shibley disagrees. “Scripture is clear: it’s not what we don’t have, but it’s according to what we have. That’s the way we are to give. And of course we’re to give in a grateful spirit, even a joyful spirit that even in a small way we can contribute to the meeting of these need.”
The gifts of God’s people are making a difference. “I’ve heard stories and read stories of refugees that are coming directly to churches and requesting Christian baptism,” said Shibley.
Please be praying for the safety of these refugees, for the work of the Gospel in their lives, and for the global church to embrace these refugees in Christ’s love.