March 22, 2019
With migration becoming a megatrend of our times, the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College has entered into a partnership with the Global Diaspora Network to launch a Global Diaspora Institute which will serve two vital functions: (1) equip, connect, resource, and mobilize missional leaders in diaspora communities in North America and beyond and (2) help churches in North America to engage with the diaspora and the Global Church.
“We simply cannot deny the enormity of how God used the diaspora to spread the work and message of the gospel. It’s at the front and center of our Christian history,” said Dr. Ed Stetzer, Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College. “With hundreds of millions of people living and working outside their homeland today, many of them Christian, we have the opportunity to unveil creative ways to reach our world for Christ through those from many cultures and backgrounds.”
The Global Diaspora Institute is embarking on a significant journey to help churches and Christian leaders to engage the diaspora as a newfound opportunity for the Kingdom of God to grow and flourish. The multi-pronged effort will include research, training, convening, networking, and resource creation across multiple mediums. The Institute is being launched simultaneously with a Lausanne North America Diaspora Strategy Group comprised of top diaspora missiologists.
The Institute will be led by Dr. Sam George, who serves as a Catalyst of Diasporas for the Lausanne Movement. Sam is of Asian Indian origin, born in the Andaman Islands in India, and traces his roots to St. Thomas Christians of Kerala, India. He has lived, studied, and worked in several countries. Sam holds degrees in mechanical engineering, business management, theology, and missiology and completed his PhD in Liverpool, UK under the tutelage of Professor Andrew Walls.
“We are in a kairos moment,” said George. “More people are on the move than any time in human history and are reshaping societies, economies, nations, and churches. If we continue to stay in our homogenous bubbles as the Body of Christ, we will miss out on what God wants to do in and through us today. Embracing diaspora communities are critical to a robust theology and practice of missions today.”
Dr. T.V. Thomas, Chairman of the Global Diaspora Network, affirmed, “I believe this is a significant partnership with strategic promise to engage missionally ‘the people on the move’. The Global Diaspora Network is a worldwide network of diaspora scholars and practitioners who seek to mobilize followers of Jesus to fulfill God’s missional purposes among the people on the move.”
“We couldn’t be more thrilled for the launch of the Global Diaspora Institute,” said Dr. Margaret Diddams, Provost at Wheaton College. “This Institute is the fulfillment of part of Rev. Billy Graham’s vision for the Billy Graham Center to be a world hub of evangelism, only now we recognize that not only is the ‘world’ out there, but it is also on our own doorstep. Diaspora missions is a critical way God is reaching our world today.”
Dr. Sam George will be working with an Advisory Council with a broad range of experience and backgrounds, including Rev. Dr. Zaki L. Zaki, Senior Pastor of the Roselle United Methodist Church; Rev. Yoman Man, Senior Pastor of Chinese Bible Church of Oak Park; Rev. Sunday Bwanhot, Pastor of Nigerian Evangelical Church of Chicago; Rev. Joel Wright, Diaspora Ministry Strategist of Converge USA; Pastor Sam Boodala of Hope Church, Naperville; and Dr. Gary Fujino, teacher and former missionary in Brazil and Japan.
The Global Diaspora Institute is a partnership of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, the Global Diaspora Network (GDN), and Lausanne North America. Offices will be located at the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College.
The Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College is a world hub of mission and evangelism which exists to equip leaders and lay Christians through networking, resourcing, and training to show and share the love of Jesus to a broken and hurting world.
Lausanne North America is committed to extending the influence and passion of Lausanne International by connecting influencers and ideas on mission and evangelism for Christ and His Kingdom.
Contact: Laurie Nichols
Director of Communications & Marketing
Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College