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Immigrant and Migrant Services
More than one in ten Adventist churches provide immigration assistance or programs to help migrant workers. That is about the same proportion as congregations of all faiths across America.

Perhaps the most surprising observation about these data is that Adventist local churches are not more active in this area given the growing number of immigrant churches and members in the denomination. It is possible that there is a problem with the survey. Pastors of immigrant churches may not be quick to report programs that “do not exist” because of the fear factor that surrounds this topic, and the response rate among immigrant churches was not as high as among the non-immigrant churches.

Yet, there are no data showing that Adventists have a higher percentage of Hispanic, Caribbean, Korean or Filipino members than do a number of other Protestant denominations. And the latest report from the NAD Office of Human Relations shows that the percentage of Hispanic and Asian members is about the same as the percentage of the general population in the U.S. Census. The rapid growth in this sector has been enough to change the pieces of the membership pie internally, but not sufficient--so far--to penetrate the overall population to an extraordinary degree.

On top of that, Hispanic Adventist churches have been found in several surveys to be particularly weak in the area of community service. It appears that needs for assistance with immigration, social services, etc., is often ignored with the overwhelming focus on evangelism.

Discussion Questions:

1. Has our congregation ever provided programs for immigration assistance or to help migrant workers in the community?

2. Is there a growing number of immigrants and/or migrant workers in this community? If so, what are their needs?

3. Should we ask an individual or a team to conduct a needs assessment in this segment of the community and bring back a report?

Learn more about the Faith Communities Today (FACT) research. For more information about ministry-oriented Adventist congregations,  check out Adventist Congregations Today book and CD-R.

Paul Richardson
Executive Director
Center for Creative Ministry

Creative Pastor e-Newsletter, May 17, 2006, Center for Creative Ministry