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Five Phases of Refugee Discipleship: Phase I – Readiness

Researching the numerous community groups in the DFW area is the second step. We were able to complete this phase through coordination with Navigators staff members who are involved in the Nations Within ministry. As a result of this and other connections of a similar nature, a web of various ministry officials to the refugee community, Muslims, and other recent migrant population centers and schools emerged. Hundreds of Afghan refugees who were swiftly relocated to the United States, including the DFW region, due to the rapid deterioration of the security situation in Afghanistan following the announced withdrawal of U.S. forces constitute the recent migrant population with the greatest needs according to the research. The need to effectively reach and disciple recent Afghans, Syrians, Congolese, and Burmese migrants with the gospel is currently a top priority for Christian disciple-makers actively pursuing recent migrants.[1] A study was conducted on the resources and resettlement centers, as well as the nonprofit organizations and government initiatives that provide direct assistance to migrants during their transition. Through the DFW refugee resource guide, Christian ministers can obtain a comprehensive list of readily available resources in the form of an information packet. [2]It should be noted that some of these resources apply to other groups of migrants as well. Critical to the success of the discipleship process is the capacity to address practical needs. Disciple-makers are better equipped when they are aware of the government, non-government, and private organizations that support migrants and what they offer. There are also Bible study resources from Pioneer Bible Translators and other nonprofits in the DFW region in many languages. These resources help bridge some language and cultural gaps during the discipleship process.

The third step is to engage in self-reflection and establish early boundaries, both of which contribute to the growth of fruitful discipleship and the prevention of rapid burnout. Those who make disciples must recognize a cost associated with discipleship (Matt 8:18-22; Luke 14:25-33; John 6:59-66). This stage was completed through Christian coaching, mentorship, and reading books on setting appropriate boundaries. It is of the utmost importance to have a clear understanding of the difference between “bearing each other’s burdens” and “everyone should carry his own load” (Gal 6:2, 5). The Greek terms for “burden” and “load” best describe the keywords in these verses. Extra burden is the literal translation of the Greek word for burden.[3] These are large rocks or “boulders” that recent migrants cannot move by themselves. They would be rendered helpless. In Greek, “load” can mean both “cargo” and “daily toil.”[4] This term refers to activities that we encounter on a daily or regular basis. Compared to the portable everyday knapsacks or backpacks that are an unavoidable aspect of life on earth. Recent migrants are accountable for managing their responsibilities, emotions, attitudes, and behaviors. They should be responsible for carrying their “daily loads.”[5] However, recent migrants require assistance with their “boulders.” If Christian disciple-makers confuse “boulders” and “daily loads,” it could result in long-lasting pain, increased dependence on others, or a lack of responsibility for recent migrants.

[1] U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, “Refugee Arrivals by State and Nationality Fiscal Year 2022,” Refugee Case Management System, last modified on June 6, 2022, https://www.wrapsnet.org/admissions-and-arrivals/

[2] Linda Evans, “Volunteer Guide,” United Nations Association of the United States of America- Dallas Chapter, last modified July 2022, http://www.dfwrefugeeguide.org.

[3] Henry Cloud and John Sims Townsend, Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life, Updated and expanded [edition]. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2017), 31-32.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Cloud and Townsend, Boundaries, 31-32.

[6] Mohammad Gulab interview by Akeem Adelagun, Fort Worth, TX, June 16, 2022.

[7] Hanna S. Shahin, The Master Disciple-Maker (Bloomington, IN: WestBow Press, 2011), Kindle Location 427.

[8] Heidi Baker, Compelled to Love: How to Change the World through the Simple Power of Love in Action (Lake Mary, FL: Charisma House, 2008), 35.  

[9] https://www.navigatorsbam.org.

[10] http://www.iranianbaptistchurch.com.

[11] https://www.loveisministry.org.

Five Phases of Refugee Discipleship: Phase II - Relationships


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