10 Ways Your Church Can Welcome Refugee Families

This piece was originally published on LinkedIn's Pulse on December 30, 2015.

Eli Saslow published an article in The Washington Post about a Syrian refugees' journey to Louisville, Kentucky. This article is helpful in several ways. It helps us to get a small glimpse into the challenges refugee families face. Saslow also highlighted how one Louisville church reached out and cared for a refugee family as they arrived to the United States. In this post I "unpack" some of the ways the church Saslow highlighted helped care for a newly resettled refugee family. 

Challenges to Helping

I recently led a breakout session at the GC2 Leadership Summit with around 50 church and faith-based relief and aid leaders. I asked them to name some of the biggest challenges to engaging local churches in caring for new refugee families. One of the biggest challenges they reported was that many churches aren't sure how to help. That's why I decided to share this list of helping strategies.

Helping Upon Arrival

This list represents some practical and tangible ways your church can support refugee families as they arrive in the United States. Below is a brief summary of some ways this church helped that were highlighted in the article: 

1) Joined with local refugee resettlement organization

2) Welcomed family at the airport

3) Spent time getting to know the family

4) Donated items for the family (including toys for their children)

5) Provided information about US culture

6) Filled refrigerator with food

7) Offered to purchase supplies (i.e., stroller)

8) Volunteered to help family get settled

9) Answered questions about safety

10) Provided childcare


Jamie D. Aten is founder and co-director of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute.He is tweeting and updating a new resource, tool, idea, quote, or article on how the Church can help care for refugees everyday leading up to the January 20, 2016 GC2 Summit.