Southeastern Cohosts Training Workshop on Refugee Care

Seeking to equip pastors and ministry workers to care for refugees, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) cohosted an all-day Care for Refugees Workshop on February 25 at The Summit Church’s Brier Creek Campus in Durham, North Carolina.

Executive Director and Treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and alum of SEBTS, Todd Unzicker began the workshop with a presentation entitled, “Biblical Call to Love the Stranger.” Commending the global throne-room vision in Revelation 5 as motivation for refugee ministry, Unzicker encouraged five biblical practices of care for refugees: (1) Practice hospitality, (2) speak for the voiceless, (3) rescue the helpless, (4) make disciples of all nations, and (5) love the sojourner. 

In the second session entitled, “Current State of Afghan Refugee Affairs,” Matthew Soerens, US Director of Church Mobilization for World Relief, discussed refugee ministry from a Christological perspective. Noting that Jesus Christ was a child refugee, Soerens emphasized that when churches minister with compassion to refugees, they minister to Christ himself. Soerens also observed that refugee ministry values the marginalized as image bearers, imitating God’s love for the orphan, widow, and foreigner. 

Leading the prayer session for the workshop, Keelan Cook, Associate Director of the Center for Great Commission Studies at SEBTS, guided attendees through several prayer points focused on local churches; gospel ministry; and global migrants, refugees, and asylees. “Unprecedented migration very likely means unprecedented access to many of the least-reached peoples in the world,” noted Cook. “This access, happening right here in our country with its freedoms from religious persecution, provides our local churches with a weighty opportunity to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who have never had a chance to hear this good news.” Cook also led attendees in a special time of prayer concerning the recent conflict in Ukraine. 

The workshop concluded with a panel discussion led by Lawrence Yoo, pastor of Waypoint Church, along with two representatives from World Relief and Refugee Hope Partners. The panel discussion centered on practical opportunities to get involved in refugee care in the Raleigh-Durham Triangle with these two organizations.  

Organized by SEBTS and The Summit Church, the event was sponsored by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, Refugee Hope Partners, SEND Relief, and World Relief. The event is one of several local events in recent years that SEBTS has hosted to equip the Church for Great Commission ministry. As Cook remarked, “Partnering with others to equip the local church, as well as our students, for the gospel responsibility presented by the refugee crisis is right at the very center of our mission at SEBTS.”  

To learn more about the Center for Great Commission Studies, visit


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