Every year, thousands of refugees arrive in Minnesota from all over the world. We have the privilege of welcoming them and walking alongside them as they adjust to life in Minnesota, finding new hope, new beginnings and new friends. Some of these refugees come from Christian backgrounds, know Jesus, and want to be connected with a church community. Other refugees have never understood the truth of who he is – while still others have never heard of him at all. Refugee Life Ministries (RLM), a program of Arrive Ministries, provides churches with an opportunity to welcome newly-arrived refugee families with the love of Christ through practical service and loving relationships. Church teams and individual New Neighbors are equipped to love their refugee friends holistically as they build genuine friendships, help them adjust to life in the U.S., assist with practical needs, and share the good news of Jesus through their lives.
Not only do churches become part of God’s transformative work in the lives of their refugee friends, but they also find that they too are changed as they engage in this kingdom work. The pastor of one church noted that being a part of Refugee Life Ministries transformed his congregation. They were no longer an inward-focused church, but they became actively engaged in God’s work outside of and through the church.
Refugee Life Ministries began when members of Roseville Covenant Church were given the vision to provide housing for newly arrived refugee families. Since then, RLM has provided a rich welcome to over 200 families. RLM teams are groups of 6-15 from churches that commit to welcoming a newly arrived refugee family and walking through the difficulties of adjusting to life in the United States for at least one year. New Neighbors are individuals or couples who also commit to holistically welcoming newly arrived refugee families with the love of Christ. More than 40 churches across the Twin Cities have formed RLM teams and more than 100 individual New Neighbors from churches across the Twin Cities have welcomed one or more newly arriving refugee families.
What support do RLM Teams receive?
Members of church teams divide up tasks and responsibilities so that no one person is stretched beyond their capacity to serve. RLM teams are provided with ongoing cultural and practical training before and after they are matched with a family. They also attend RLM volunteer trainings with other RLM church teams. These training sessions provide Biblical, practical and cultural insights by equipping teams to share the gospel and provide assistance with home and community orientation, employment, budgeting, education, and navigating life in a new city. In addition, RLM staff provide continuous support to teams by meeting with them, providing resources and advice, and quickly responding to phone calls and emails.
Refugee Life Ministries operates in many churches across the Twin Cities. Our hope is that, one day, every refugee family that is resettled through Arrive Ministries will be welcomed by a church team or New Neighbor. If you are interested in learning more about how you, your church, or your small group can welcome a refugee family contact us for more information. [Contact information is listed below]
Benefits to Churches
– Cross-cultural training from Arrive Ministries
– Learning about the Biblical principles of compassion and service
– Cross-cultural local ministry and engagement opportunities
– Friendships that teach all about God, His love, and provision
Benefits to Refugee Families
– Support and assistance with basic needs from Church neighbors while adjusting to U.S. life
– Friendships with Americans
– Connections with Christian communities and the opportunity to hear the good news from them
Training for church teams and team leaders is held four times a year. Our 2016 RLM Volunteer Training schedule is outlined below.
Volunteer Trainings 2016-2017
- Thursday, September 15th 6:30-8:30 PM – “Making Disciples” – Bethlehem Baptist Church, Downtown Campus
- Monday, November 14th 6:30-8:30 PM – “Sharing Life Cross-Culturally”- Location TBD
- Thursday, February 2nd 6:30-8:30 PM – “Empowering Responses to Practical Needs” –Location TBD
- Monday, April 24th 6:30-8:30 PM – “Tackling English Together” – Location TBD
Rob Scott, Refugee Life Ministries Volunteer Director
Rob is a full-time elementary school teacher, but volunteers his time as the director of Refugee Life Ministries. Rob has a passion for assisting refugees and leads the ministry through vision casting and training.
Jessica Wills, Refugee Life Ministries Program Director
612-746-5649 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Zack Szyman, Refugee Life Ministries Church Team Coordinator
612-746-5654 or email@example.com
Kyrie Deutschman, Refugee Life Ministries Church Team Coordinator
612-243-2950 or firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about Refugee Life Ministries, contact Jessica, Zack, or Kyrie (above) by phone or email.
About Refugee Life Ministries (PDF)