With nearly a million refugees slated to seek asylum, Germany is struggling to deal with the largest refugee crisis since the end of World War II. The country has received more requests for asylum than any other country, and the strain on the country’s social services has been tremendous. Fortunately, the German Church of God (Freikirchlicher Bund der Gemeinde Gottes) has congregations that are mobilizing to assist those in need. However, the scale of this crisis is so great that the Church of God in Germany and the Church of God, through the Disaster Relief Committee at Church of God Ministries, have decided to tackle the crisis together.
In recent years, the Church of God in Germany and the Church of God in North America, through Global Strategy personnel in Europe and the Middle East, have increasingly worked together and partnered in ministry. The XZ Berlin project, Pink Door, 3WLN (Three Worlds Leadership Network), German youth camps, internships, teaching at Fritzlar, and the Budapest Lectures in Hungary are just a few of the ways that we have interacted and partnered in ministry. Members from Global Strategy’s Three Worlds (3W) mission team have played key roles in these ministries. At the most recent European Theological Conference, the 3W team was invited to share in the leadership of the event.
Now is the time to respond to a critical urgent need and be the hands and feet of Jesus. To that end, the North American churches are being asked to be involved in a variety of ways. Three Worlds (Berlin) team member Audrey Weiger visited the site of some of the refugee camps and a congregation that is reaching out. She reported to the team, to the church in North America online, and via video. As she saw firsthand, a holistic ministry for Arabic-speaking meetings has been started in Bad Segeberg, meeting physical and spiritual needs. Other congregations in Germany, including those in Duisburg and Hamburg, are requesting teams from North America to come alongside and work with German Christians.
The greatest need, though, is a financial one. In December 2015, the Church of God in North America, through the Disaster Relief Committee at Church of God Ministries, sent $10,000 to the Church of God in Germany. Earlier this year, the German church asked us to partner with them financially for the next two years. They were forecasting a shortfall of €24,000 in their budget for refugee ministries. Church leadership is challenging the congregations in Germany to meet half that need and they have asked the Church of God in North America to match that. Would you help us provide a matching gift of $15,000 through the Disaster Relief Fund at Church of God Ministries?
As together we continue to respond to the refugee crisis in Germany, one of our aims is to partner with our experienced brothers and sisters in the Middle East to present training on preventing burnout and on leading the Muslim refugees we are serving into a relationship with Christ. We are excited about the possibility of bringing our brothers and sisters in the Middle East into this partnership, making it truly multicultural and global.
The response to the refugee crisis is truly an opportunity to show that we are serious about Jesus being the subject. Nationality, geographical distance, past histories, and territorialism have no place in the church if we are serious about serving Jesus. “I am so amazed and thankful to see the new kind of cooperation from the churches in North America and Germany because of the refugee crisis,” says Rainer Klinner, director of ministry in the Church of God in Germany. May God find us faithful as we use this opportunity to respond to a crisis, share the gospel, and model to the world that the church is relevant because Jesus is the subject, transforming heart and lives.
As the Disaster Relief Committee and Global Strategy partner with the Church of God in Germany to work with refugees, would you consider donating today to the Disaster Relief Fund? You can also send your donation to Attn: Disaster Relief, Church of God Ministries, PO Box 2420, Anderson, IN 46018. Be certain to clearly designate your gift to Project #45.04502.
On June 23, following the Regional Convention of the Church of God in Anderson, Indiana, the CHOG Table event will be focused on refugee and immigration issues. We invite you to participate. Members of Global Strategy’s Three World’s team will be participating, as will Frank Bonkowski, a German pastor who will be discussing how Germany is responding to refugee and immigration issues. For more information about this event and to register, visit www.chogtable.org.