Migration as a Gift from God: Immigrants Revitalize Churches in Europe
May 15, 2012 by M. Daniel Carroll R. | 0 Comments
In a recent article that appeared in the May issue of Christianity Today (“Asian Diaspora Brings New Life to European Churches”) Ruth Moon describes how Christian immigrants from various nations in Asia are impacting European churches.
Churches that were declining in attendance and whose demographic was getting older are now coming alive again. What we are witnessing is the revitalization of churches that were once sliding into irrelevance. In his sovereign mercy, God has moved millions of Christian believers into places that need a fresh outpouring of his power and presence. This is a new and important way of looking at global migration: God is at work in and through the international diaspora.
Here are portions of that article:
“Most immigrants are young with many children,” said Hans Lund, director of Church Integration Ministries. “They have a fresh expression of Christianity,” he said. “They come from countries where the biggest problem is to find enough space for all the people, and they come to countries where the biggest problem is empty churches.”
More than 105 million migrants—nearly half of the world’s total—are Christians, according to a new study from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Forty-two percent of immigrants to the European Union are Christian—the largest population of any religious group.
In Copenhagen, more than half of all churchgoers are immigrants, Lund said. One new church starts every month; today more than 200 migrant churches dot the small nation of 5 million.
Korean congregations have partnered with the International Presbyterian Church in the United Kingdom since the 1980s, said Hun Kim, a diaspora ministries consultant for Wycliffe Bible Translators. In Germany, two Korean pastors of migrant churches sit on the board of the United Evangelical Mission.
“Isn’t that the picture of heaven? Everybody coming before the throne of God from every tongue and race?” said Sadiri Tira, chairman of the Global Diaspora Network and a Lausanne Movement associate. “These migrants are placed by God in his wisdom . . . It is important that they live out their faith.”