A survey just released by LifeWay Research indicates that American churches are picking up speed in courting new immigrants, but that plenty of potential for attendance gains and outreach remain.
The survey of pastors, churches and ministries which frequently interact with immigrants was conducted in cooperation with the North American Mission Board. Respondents indicated that the majority of immigrants are open to a hearing of Christian teaching, particularly those coming from societies where religious diversity is limited or banned.
“The opportunity here is great,” explained Ken Weathersby, vice president of church planting at NAMB. “Many immigrants come from places where preaching the gospel is illegal, but they can hear the gospel in their new home. In turn, those believers can impact their families here in North America and in their country of origin, more easily crossing language and cultural barriers [than non-native believers].”
Mexico was by far the leader of what country immigrants come from who have missionaries and church planters working among them. South Korea was a distant second.
“Things are changing in the U.S. and Canada,” said Ed Stetzer, director of LifeWay Research. “By 2050, there will be no majority race or ethnicity in the United States. Already, in Toronto, the majority of residents were born outside of Canada. This is a wake-up call to the Church in North America. The nations of the world are living right here, yet many are not hearing the gospel in an intentional, organized way. We can do better.”