While Congress has yet to decide the future of the country’s illegal immigrants, some say they are critical to the survival of Christianity in America.
“Every denomination is experiencing explosive growth within the Latino church and the immigrant church at large. It’s been this way now for several decades,” Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, told CBN News. “This is a perpetual revival, if you will, and it’s not going to cease and it’s growing and we thank God for it.”
Rodriguez says Americans can fulfill the Great Commission by ministering to their immigrant neighbors next door.
“For so many years we thought that harvest was over international waters. But we’re seeing that same harvest taking place right here in the United States,” he explained.
The Fairmeadows Baptist Church in Duncanville, Texas, has grown exponentially since it started evangelizing in the local immigrant community.
What started out as a church with little more than a dozen members has quickly grown to 80 members after opening its doors to the large Hispanic immigrant community nearby. Today, the church is home to a Hispanic congregation called Erez Baptist Church, which boasts a vibrant youth music group and sponsors missionary work in Brazil.
“Everything we do is about making disciples,” Rodriguez told NPR. He founded the Erez Baptist congregation in December 2016,
This comes at a time when Americans are increasingly turning away from religion. In fact, illegal immigrants are starting to make disciples of Americans.
“There was a time when immigrant churches were meeting in the basements or the Sunday school rooms of primarily Anglo churches, but now they own church properties, and they start English ministries. There’s a reverse missions approach,” Rodriguez said.
While this is good news for a number of immigrant church leaders, Rodriguez argues mass deportations and bad U.S. immigration policy could jeopardize the future of Christianity in America.
“You could cripple the North American church,” he said. “I think there’s spiritual implications to the policy behind it because I see this large revival, this large growth of the church, and if there was mass deportation you could cause the closure of immigrant churches throughout the country.”
“I mean, imagine the spiritual implications. Christianity would immediately go into decline,” he continued.
Rodriguez urged American believers to see immigration beyond just a mere political issue, but a spiritual issue.
“We need to see this through the eyes of Jesus,” he said. “I can’t speak for all 14 million undocumented immigrants, but there’s a large majority who are coming to the feet of Christ and they want to do things right.”