Welcome people as they arrive ( 15 minutes)
Have a sign in area, including a sheet to gather phone numbers and emails
Invite people to get drinks and snacks (If including dinner, consider starting at 5:30 or adjusting time)
Welcome, Opening Prayer & Introductions (10 minutes)
Invite people to go around the room, share their name and something about themselves (“If you could have one superpower, what would it be?” or “Share your name and your favorite breakfast food” ;)
Acuerdos/Agreements for Safe Space conversations (10 minutes)
Because we are desiring to have an honest, open conversation tonight, we need to recognize that with the topic of immigration, some people are affected indirectly, and some are affected directly, and it is not just a topic, but a lived (and sometimes very painful) experience. Because of this, we’d like to set up some agreements.
(Host’s optional description: As in Scripture, we are told in 1 Corinthians 12, that we are to see the Body of Christ as a Body that needs one another! The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.)
Host’s story of Self (5 minutes)
Why did you decide to get involved in this moment? What’s your story, what one or two experiences has led you to exercise this leadership now? Why are you hosting this house meeting?
II. Deeper Discussion (with Host Options!)
Pair and Share (2-3 minutes)
Turn to your neighbor (groups of 2 or 3) and answer the question:
“Why are you here tonight?” What’s moving you? What brought you here?
Host’s options: (Choose 1-2 options, depending on audience & timing)
Option A: Larger Group Discussion: If your group is already very aware of the injustices of the immigration system and racial injustice in general, you could move to a larger group discussion for 10 minutes. (Who are we? What part of our collective story in this congregration or city/state gives us hope that we can make a difference? What specific challenge have we faced in the past and how did we overcome it? What’s our hope, our prophetic vision of how things could change if people of faith exercise their power and ensure everyone can fully access opportunity?)
Option B: Ask a Dreamer to share their story (Again, emphasize that this is a safe space for sharing and hearing one another’s sacred stories.)
Videos from Voice of Christian Dreamers
Option C: Share a short Video If you don’t know anyone directly impacted in the present moment, you can share an engaging video, such as Pastor Noe’s story on the Matthew25socal.org website or “The Stranger” trailer video on www.evangelicalimmigrationtable.com (The full video is 40 minutes, but the trailer is 3.5 minutes).
Option D: Go to God’s Word! (This is by no means “the last option”, but in reality the best option! It works great to follow one of the above options with a brief discussion of some of the following verses:
Matthew 25: 31-45 (thus, the name of the Matthew 25/Mateo 25 Movement—a great one to take time to read!)
Option E: Experiential Activity (This activity gives an overview of the American immigration system and the 4 pathways through which people immigrate to the US. People are given an opportunity to pick one of 20+ scenarios and figure out their odds of immigrating to the US. Discussion to follow can be very provocative. This had to be prepared ahead of time and can be found on the appendix 2 on the following guide bit.ly/LearningGroupPDF
Ask your group, “How does our faith inform our response to immigration in this moment? What have you been most burdened about in the past 6 months? Have you seen current immigration policy play out in your current context?
III. What Can We Do About It? Purposeful Next Steps
“We have an opportunity to respond individually, as a group, and as a congregation. (Copies of response options paper?)
*Where do you see yourself personally? Take a minute to jot down your response.
*How many of you would want to continue to meet as a group?
While thinking about what we could do together, here’s what we can do as individuals!:
Individual: Let’s get out our phones (5 minutes)
*Call your representatives about the Dream Act
*Call one friend tonight and tell them what you discussed ;)
(Checks for Matthew 25 So Cal can be made out to Compassion Creates Change).
Group: (for discussion, 5 minutes)
How many of you would like to continue to meet as a group? How often?
What do we want to do as a group?
*Go through relevant curriculum together?
Some options include World Relief’s Welcoming the Stranger, Evangelicals for Social Action’s Study Guide: http://www.evangelicalsforsocialaction.org/immigrants-and-refugees/, or articles by Rev. Alexia Salvatierra and Dr. Robert Chao Romero found on matthew25socal.org/publications
*Gather to pray and meet with church leadership to explore M25 opportunities
*Host a speaker to learn about advocacy/policy/local volunteer opportunities
(M25 leaders can help with these options, depending on your group’s interests)
As a Church (2 minutes, perhaps something to be discussed at a later time too)
*Host a naturalization fair for your community or an immigration screening event through World Relief
*Sign up to explore Matthew 25 Church Partnerships between immigrant and non-immigrant churches
*Create a church-rooted M25 ministry team (for ongoing advocacy, prayer & education)
Summary and Closing (2 minutes)
What did we agree on as next steps? Who will contact those interested and when?
Thank everyone for coming!