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American Evangelicals Want Balanced Approach to Immigration

Influences and involvement

Evangelicals say their views of immigration come from a wide variety of sources, but they’d still appreciate more insight on the issue from sermons.

When asked what has influenced their thinking on immigration the most, evangelicals are most likely to say the media (23%), the Bible (20%), friends and family (16%), immigrants they have observed (11%) and immigrants they have interacted with (10%). Fewer point to positions of elected officials (6%), their local church (3%), national Christian leaders (1%) and teachers or professors (less than 1%). Another 6% aren’t sure, and 4% didn’t choose any of the options.

When asked their top three influences, friends and family climb to the top, with 51% saying those loved ones are one of the primary factors shaping their view of immigration. Slightly fewer point to the media (46%). Around 1 in 3 say one of their top influences is the Bible (36%), immigrants they have observed (33%), positions of elected officials (32%) and immigrants they have interacted with (30%). Fewer say their local church (19%), national Christian leaders (11%) or teachers or professors (7%) were among their top three influences.

“More self-identified evangelicals say their thinking on immigration is most influenced by the Bible or the media than in 2015, and fewer say they are most influenced by immigrants with whom they have interacted,” said McConnell. “While more evangelicals point to understanding and accepting the Bible’s influence on the topic of immigration, the majority do not yet appear to have made it primary.”

While most evangelicals (63%) say they are very familiar with what the Bible teaches about how immigrants should be treated, 76% say they would value hearing a sermon that teaches biblical principles and examples that can be applied to immigration in the U.S.

RELATED: 4 Ways Immigration Impacts the Church Mission

Some evangelicals have been actively involved in ministering to immigrants through their local churches. Three in 10 (30%) say they have heard immigration discussions at their church that encouraged outreach to immigrants in their community. Slightly more (34%) say their church has a ministry or outreach that serves refugees or other immigrants. More than 1 in 3 say they are either currently involved in a ministry that serves refugees or other immigrants (15%) or have been in the past (21%).

After seeing the results of the 2015 Lifeway Research study, Soerens said he and other leaders worked to develop additional resources focused on a biblical perspective on immigration. He believes that work is evident in the 2022 study. “While there’s clearly still a need for more discipleship,” he said, “we are encouraged by the increase in the share of self-identifying evangelicals who have heard a biblical message on the theme of immigration and who now say they are familiar with what the Bible says on this topic.”

This article originally appeared here.