When people leave their homes for another country, it doesn't have to be just a bad-news story.
"There's actually an opportunity there for the church and for the gospel to come alongside and become the presence of God to those people," says Sam Chaise, participant at the Global Diaspora Forum in Manila, Philippines, currently in session.
Chaise, executive director of Canadian Baptist Ministries, talks about ministering to those "pilgrims" in a new Skype interview with EthicsDaily.com.
Skype Interview: Sam Chaise from EthicsDaily on Vimeo.
Chaise is one of several hundred Christian leaders at the forum, convened by the Global Diaspora Network of the Lausanne Movement, which was initiated in the 1970s by Billy Graham as a way to "facilitate global collaboration in making Christ known to all people."
Leaders at the forum include mission agency heads, denominational executives and pastors of international churches.
Their focus: diaspora, or people not living in the country of their birth for various reasons (for example, immigrants, refugees, international students).
Chaise says the forum is "really trying to do more sustained theological and biblical and missiological reflection on this phenomenon," even though ministry activity regarding diaspora has been going on for years. So what has changed?
"If all the people in the diaspora today lived in one country, it would be the fifth largest country in the world," Chaise says.
As such, it would draw considerable attention and study. But because diaspora is spread globally, ministry tends to be more ad hoc.
"This is really the first time, that we know of, where this kind of caliber of people have come together from all over the world to just think through some of these larger issues," he says.
"The diaspora that we see in our world actually could be and probably is part of God's redemptive purpose," Chaise says. "It's not to say that God causes it, but just as God created humankind and said 'Scatter into the world' - and just as he called Abram, who was a pilgrim and left his home, in the same way that Jesus left heaven and came to earth - this idea of moving and scattering and leaving and being a pilgrim is actually a key part of how God has operated throughout human history."
Watch the interview with Chaise at vimeo.com/ethicsdaily/skype-samchaise
Learn more about Chaise at cbminorg.wordpress.com
Watch other EthicsDaily.com Skype interviews at vimeo.com/ethicsdaily