– To facilitate the integration of marginalized peoples into the fabric and ways of life in their new community.
– To create a space to restore the dignity, value, purpose, and competency of the whole person for the benefit of the individual, the family, and the community.
– To catalyze the contribution of one’s unique identity and culture for the good of society.
– To find people of peace in order to help them discover the Gospel, be restored in Christ, and sent on mission to facilitate the multiplication of disciples and churches in the 8 neighborhoods of Strasbourg comprised of Unreached peoples and back into their countries of origin.
– To model, equip, and launch new leaders to engage their communities with the Gospel in faithful and fitting ways.
This Center will play a critical role in preventing and resolving several problems:
1) Refugee Integration in France:
Refugees and their children struggle to integrate into France. The same is true even for 2nd and 3rd generation immigrants because they often fail – or are blocked – from integrating into modern French and European society. This means that they struggle to live well adjusted lives in this new country that feels foreign, far from all that is normal, natural, and good to them.
If they can find a sense of identity, place and purpose in this new culture, they will be less vulnerable to the radical streams of Islam that prey on their isolation and insecurity.
New immigrants generally have a crucial two year window to integrate in France. If this window is missed, it can lead to the creation of refugee enclaves that become hot spots for jihadist agendas. Such is the reality for many.
2) Immigrant Trauma and its many causes:
There are many reasons that immigrants choose to travel the refugee highway: war, persecution, political unrest, sex trafficking, and more. However, upon arriving in France, new arrivals as well as those who have been here for years still suffer from racism and rejection in their new host cultures.
3) Social Anxiety and Tension
In such a context, immigrants are viewed merely as a burden to society and as having nothing to offer to the greater good. There is an enormous need to capture the competencies and value of this population so as to bring about reconciliation between the two and enable them to contribute to society to change the perception that they are second class citizens.
4) UNchurched and UNreached
With only 14 evangelical churches in Strasbourg, a city of 300,000+ people and 8 neighborhoods without an evangelical presence, the church planting needs are vast. In our neighborhood alone, there are people coming from over 59 nations, of which the majority are from unreached and unengaged peoples in North Africa and the Middle East. The spiritual needs of this population are enormous in themselves, and so we are praying that God might reach them here in France, so as to facilitate a new movement that could result in reaching their networks in their countries of origin.
5) A Safe Place in a Fractured Society
Without a place for local christians and muslim communities to interface, there is a dire need to create a safe place where these two communities can come into contact with people unlike themselves so as to break down barriers and false assumptions that exist between them, and equip the French church to respond to the immigration crisis with grace and hope so that she can be the People of God that she is called to be in her city. As a result, this will also be a witness to the French Non-Christian community that has little to no awareness or categories for Christ and His Church, being less than 2% Evangelical.
To let ourselves be used by God to be, make and gather devoted disciples of Jesus Christ
among the UNreached and the UNchurched through the total transformation of every man, woman, child and their community in partnership with the Global Church.
We wish to provide services in the following domains that have clearly defined objectives for how to concretely present Christ as well as identify people of peace:
1) Integration: Upon arrival initial services are of utmost importance to facilitate integration into the new host culture. As a result, we wish to provide services that can help with Administration processes, filling out and translating documents, providing printer/internet access to follow their visa processes, and to create a family atmosphere around tea and coffee to be a place of rest and acceptance after a long journey.
2) Restoration: After initial and immediate needs are met, there is a need for deep restoration through offering trauma counseling, French/English Classes as well as after school help. This will enable them to be qualified to get jobs, but also to do so in a compassionate and listening presence. There are also health needs that we would like to meet by offering exercise classes for women only and health/wellness visits. We would also seek to put on occasional events such as: cooking classes, job skills/seminars, events on bullying, making a resumé, looking for a job, finding healthcare, and opening bank accounts. Lastly, we wish for this to be a drop-in and hang out spot with games and events that allow youth to have a safe alternative option to be with their friends.
3) Contribution: The next level of services we wish to provide is through the creation of dignity and ownership of the neighborhood. We will seek to do this by celebrating their cultural identity through music, art, dance, dinners, and other multicultural events that allow them to express their unique cultural contribution to soceity. Also, by leading service opportunities in the neighborhood and participating in the integration of new people, this will create spaces for them to use their gifts and contribute back to the neighborhood. They could also help us in facilitating and hosting Short Term Teams, and other activities in the center that would enable them to have a sense of accomplishment that they otherwise would struggle to find.
4) Multiplication: To ensure the sustaining work of Disciple Making and Church Planting, we have created 2 separate teams: a Church Planting Team (comprised of 10 french believers) and a Community Center Team (comprised of 15 volunteers and a french director). All will be equipped to present Christ in faithful and fitting ways. The Center will enable us to identify people of peace, who we will then connect to those on the Church Planting Team that are capable of walking the road with them through Discovery Bible Studies and on the Discipleship Path that we are implementing in our Church Planting team.
5) Education: The Center will be a place that will educate believers through first hand experience about the realities of this marginalized population and be equipped through seminars on how to share their faith in a fitting manner and serve this community with sincere love. It will also function as a training center for future church planters that we will be training in the off hours.
The waves of refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers are predicted to continue into Europe for the next 40 years. The impact on a regional level is enormous with 40% of them choosing to set up their lives here in France, and on a local level here in Strasbourg we have already received 3,000 requests for Asylum in the last 9 months alone. This presents the Church with an enormous opportunity to welcome, serve, and share Christ with thousands of people who otherwise would not have access to Christ. However, without a physical space to come into contact with this population and provide services for a larger quantity of people, it will hamper our ability to reach out to a wider swath of people in need of complete transformation.
As a result, we are calling on the Global Church to join us in the purchase, repair and outfit of a 2200 square foot building that is situated right next to the Center that processes the asylum requests, which will give us immediate access and visibility to this community. We are also in need of 2 years worth of resources to fund the salary of the French director of the Center, as well as the monthly costs of running it, until we are able to get local revenue streams to provide for the long term viability of the Center. The need is real and the cost is enormous, so we invite you to join hands with the Global Church as we seek to pray this vision into existence together!