As we emerge from a divisive national election in the United States, the topic of immigration has become politically polarized. While followers of Jesus may disagree on the specifics of immigration and refugee policy, though, we can be united by our commitment to viewing this complex topic through the lens of God's word.
Sadly, according to a recent LifeWay Research Survey, that's not necessarily the perspective from which most evangelical Christians are viewing this topic at present: just 12% of evangelical Christians say that their views on immigration issues are primarily influenced by the Bible. If we believe that the Scripture ought to be our ultimate authority for all of life, this statistic needs to change.
The "I Was a Stranger" Challenge is designed to be a discipleship tool to help pastors and church leaders to challenge those whom they shepherd and influence—whether a full congregation or an Adult Education class, small group, youth group, etc.—to consider the many ways that the Bible speaks to this important topic.
The challenge is simple: pass out the "I Was a Stranger" Challenge bookmarks and ask people to join you in committing to read one Scripture passage per day for forty days, praying each day that God would give us His mind and heart as we reflect on these passages.
You can use the buttons below to get your bookmarks. You can either:
- Download a PDF and print as many bookmarks as you need for your congregation
- Download the InDesign files, add your own church (or denominational or organizational) logo, and print as many bookmarks as you need for your congregation
- Order pre-printed bookmarks, available in English or Spanish
Some congregations have used this challenge during Advent or Lent, but it can be started at any time of the year.
Order Bookmarks in English
Para Pedir Separadores en espanol
Print Your Own Bookmarks download a PDF
Customize Your Bookmarksdesign files to add your logo
Download "I Was A Stranger" video
Here are a number of additional resources for you to utilize as you invite your congregation to take part in this challenge:
- Preaching God's Heart for Immigrants: We'd encourage you to launch the Challenge with a weekend service focused on God's Heart for Immigrants. If you'd like help planning a sermon, you can find preaching supports here, including sample sermons on video, sermon outlines, illustrations, and statistics.
- "I Was a Stranger..." Launch Video: This 3-minute video features the words of Matthew 25:31-46, read by a number of prominent evangelical leaders. You are welcome to either stream and embed the video online or to download it to show in a weekend service.
- The Stranger Film: As a conclusion to your 40-day Challenge, we suggest hosting a screening of The Stranger, the 40-minute documentary from the Evangelical Immigration Table that tells the stories of three Christian immigrant families, putting some human faces on this complex issue. You can download it for free here.
- An Incentive to Complete the Challenge: Finally, thanks to InterVarsity Press and World Relief, we're able to offer a small incentive to anyone in your congregation who completes the "I Was a Stranger" Challenge by reading all 40 Bible passages: a free e-book version of Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion and Truth in the Immigration Debate, written by Matthew Soerens and Jenny Hwang Yang. To claim their free e-book, folks can simply visit the website on the back of their bookmark (www.evangelicalimmigrationtable.com/challengecomplete). (It's an honor system-we're going to trust you if you promised you've completed the challenge).