South East Co-Host Training Workshop on Refugee Care • Bible Recorder

Seeking to equip pastors and ministry workers to care for refugees, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) co-hosted a day Refugee Care Workshop February 25 at the Brier Creek campus of The Summit Church in Durham, North Carolina

Executive Director and Treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and SEBTS Alumnus Todd Unzicker began the workshop with a presentation titled “Biblical Call to Love the Stranger”. Hailing the overarching vision of the throne room in Revelation 5 as motivation for refugee ministry, Unzicker encouraged five biblical practices of caring for refugees: (1) Practicing hospitality, (2) Speaking for the voiceless, (3) save the helpless, (4) make disciples of all nations, and (5) love the stranger.

During the second session titled “Current State of Afghan Refugee Affairs”, Matthew Soerens, US director of church mobilization for World Relief, discussed refugee ministry from a Christological perspective. Noting that Jesus Christ was a refugee child, Soerens pointed out that when churches compassionately serve refugees, they serve Christ himself. Soerens also observed that refugee ministry values ​​the marginalized as image bearers, emulating God’s love for the orphan, the widow, and the stranger.

Lead the prayer session for the workshop, Cook Keelan, Associate Director of the Center for Great Commission Studies at SEBTS, led participants through several prayer points focusing on local churches, gospel ministry, and migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers around the world. “Unprecedented migration most likely means unprecedented access to many of the world’s least-reached peoples,” Cook noted. “This access, which is happening right here in our country with its freedoms from religious persecution, provides our local churches with an important opportunity to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who have never had the chance to hear this good news.” Cook also led participants in a special time of prayer regarding the recent conflict in Ukraine.

The workshop ended with a round table moderated by Laurent Yoo, pastor of Waypoint Church, as well as two representatives of World Relief and Refugee Hope Partners. The roundtable focused on the practical possibilities of getting involved in the care of refugees in the Raleigh-Durham Triangle with these two organizations.

Organized by SEBTS and The Summit Church, the event was sponsored by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, Refugee Hope Partners, SEND Relief and World Relief. The event is one of many local events in recent years that SEBTS has held to equip the church for Great Commission ministry. As Cook noted, “Partnering with others to equip the local church, as well as our students, for the evangelistic responsibility presented by the refugee crisis is at the very heart of our mission at SEBTS.”

To learn more about the Center for Great Commission Studies, visit thecgcs.org.

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Chad Burchett is a staff writer for the SEBTS Communications Office.)

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