A new study has found that while the majority of churches in the U.S. believe that they should help refugees, few are actively doing so, largely due to fear.
Christianity Today reports that a recent survey, involving 1,000 Protestant senior pastors and sponsored by World Relief and World Vision, looked at churches' views toward refugees.
About 20 million people, including four million Syrians, are refugees worldwide, reports World Relief. The U.S. plans to settle 85,000 of those refugees, including 10,000 from Syria.
When asked whether Christians have a responsibility to sacrificially care for refugees and foreigners, eight out of 10 of the survey participants agreed. In addition, 67 percent said that the U.S. can balance national security concerns with compassion toward refugees. About a quarter of those surveyed are skeptical and six percent are simply unsure.
Although research revealed that the majority of churches believe it is important to help refugees, few of them are taking action to do so.
Only one in five pastors said their church is helping refugees overseas and one in three have addressed the refugee crisis from the pulpit.
Additionally, more than four in 10 (44 percent) believe that many in their church fear refugees coming to the U.S.
The survey found that churches were more likely to help refugees overseas than to welcome refugees into their local communities.
“This important research affirms that church leaders broadly agree our faith compels us to care sacrificially for refugees, but also finds that relatively few congregations are actively engaged in doing so,” said Stephan Bauman, president of World Relief.
Publication date: March 1, 2016