Best Practices in Immigrant Ministry

By Dina Horne

Practical steps on how you can reach out to immigrants in your community.

Not everyone can work with immigrants overseas or set up an Immigrant Connection center in North America. But any Wesleyan member can more intentionally build redemptive connections with immigrants near our own churches. The following are a few good practices for reaching out to immigrants.

1. Recognize that immigrants are people. Each has their own very human experience.

2. Admit that racism exists. Ask God to reveal any unintentional barriers within us. And there are societal barriers that must be overcome.

3. Build a bridge. Don’t underestimate the power of hospitality. Invite someone to your home for a meal. Be sensitive toward possible dietary restrictions. Simply ask.

Our awareness of this establishes a foundation of humility in beginning relationships.

4. Read a book. Among many resources, consider Bold as Love by Bob Roberts.

5. Learn a few words of your immigrant friend’s language. Greet her in her language, pay her a compliment, and especially learn how to say her name correctly!

6. Ask your immigrant friend for help. Ask your friend to explain his culture to you or how to make a favorite dish or piece of artwork. Your worldview will be enriched.

7. Remember the important holidays in your friend’s home culture. Call and wish your friend happy Ramadan, happy Independence Day, etc.

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8. Do not let fear inhibit you. You may be intimidated to ask an immigrant to coffee or dinner, but they will be grateful. They need relationships!

9. Be yourself. Invite them into your normal life. Invite your new friend to your normal activities and holiday activities.

10. Research where immigrants live, work, and play. Spend time there. Get a haircut, do business with immigrants, go to parks, and eat meals in restaurants where you could strike up conversations and very likely have opportunities to share your faith.

11. Commit to praying for an immigrant friend, family, or people group. Pray for their physical needs and salvation regularly, and watch God go to work.