Using the BMS Syria harvest resource
Wondering whether you and your church should be engaging more with what’s happening in Syria? BMS World Mission has a tried and tested resource that could help you
“I think [Syria’s Forgotten Families] has a biblically prophetic message for our time,” says Richard Burfoot, Minister of West Cliff Baptist Church in Bournemouth, who used the resource with his church last Sunday. “We are in a post-Brexit shadow in the life of our nation at the moment, and literally sixty or eighty miles away from here across the channel, up to 10,000 people, some from Syria themselves, are living in a way we would never imagine people living.
“There’s a sense in which many of us would rather bury our head under the pillow and pretend it’s not there. But the message from the scriptures prophetically tells us they’re our brothers and sisters and are intrinsically valuable.”
Syria has become a byword for devastation. The images we see on the news are so distressing that at times we have to turn away. There are literally millions of displaced Syrians sheltering in neighbouring countries, or waiting across the channel in Calais. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. It’s easy to forget that these are people, just like us.
That’s why this year’s BMS harvest resource focuses on Syria’s families. Together, we can do something to help some of those suffering. In fact, if you support BMS, you already are – and you can find out how in the Syria’s Forgotten Families feature video.
We could write very eloquently for days about why you should use our harvest resource this year. But we made it – so we’re a teensy bit biased. Instead, we thought we should hear what some of the ministers who have used it have to say about the resources on offer.
“People are continuing to talk about it and how very meaningful the service was. It’s left an impression,” says Philip Egglestone, Minister of Nairn Baptist Church in the Scottish Highlands. “It was very helpful to us, to see that there was something practical we could do,” he says.
Both Philip and Richard used the feature and reflection videos in their churches, and they were impressed by the way the Syria’s Forgotten Families sermon material brought the issues arising from the Syrian crisis closer to home. “We weren’t just left with the impression of a project that was somewhere else,” says Philip. “The use of the story of Naomi and Ruth bringing people in from the edges meant that we could transfer our thoughts into the local situation too. That worked really well.”
Children and adults were impacted by Syria’s Forgotten Families at Stanley Road Baptist Church in Morecambe. The church’s pastor, Steven Hewitt, says that, “Children nowadays have heard quite a lot about Syria, so it was really helpful for them to see how churches are involved and are making a difference. They’ve taken away collection jars and they will make a difference too.”
If you haven’t planned to use our harvest resource this year, Richard from West Cliff thinks it’s not too late for you to decide to do so now. “The material is easy enough to use that, even if someone is not well prepared, there is enough stuff there to make a really good service,” he says. “And that’s what’s really appreciated by those of us who are ministers – the material is put together by people who understand ministry and understand church.”
The crisis in Syria is huge – there’s no question about that. But we can’t bury our heads in the sand. Alone we can do a little, but together we can do so much more. “As a denomination, we are able to pull together and do some quite important and exciting things,” says Steven.
“West Cliff Baptist Church can’t make any difference to the Syrian crisis on our own,” says Richard. “But together, as part of a network of vibrant churches, we can stand firm and we can make a difference.”
It’s not too late to order a copy of Syria’s Forgotten Families. You can also download all of the resources from bmsworldmission.org/syriasfamilies and start planning your service right away!
Facebook us, Tweet us, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know that you’re using Syria’s Forgotten Families in your church and to tell us how it goes!
This article first appeared on the website of BMS World Mission and is used with permission