A number of Christian church leaders, including Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren, spoke out about the vital need for believers to follow Jesus' footsteps and help refugees at the GC2 Summit at Community Christian Church in Naperville, Illinois, on Wednesday.
The conference featured a number of sessions focused on the ongoing refugee crisis that is gripping the world, most notably with the millions of people in Syria and the surrounding region fleeing civil war and seeking refuge in Western nations. Evangelical pastors spoke alongside relief groups, such as World Vision and World Relief, about the urgent need for the Church in America to get involved and help in meaningful ways.
Rick Warren focused his message to the audience at Naperville, alongside all those watching via live stream, on the life and mission of Jesus Christ, and urged believers to care about the things that Jesus cared about.
"Jesus loves the Church, and he loves the world," Warren said.
The Saddleback pastor also pointed out that Christ was indifferent to things such as personal danger, politics, and even religious traditions — "He valued relationships much more than rules," he added.
"Jesus never got angry at irreligious people. He only got mad at people who should know better. All of the woes in Matthew 23 and Luke 11 are for religious people. And that's why the common people and the street people loved Jesus. The only people who had a problem with Jesus were the religious ones. When Jesus saw people taking advantage of the poor, he got angry," the pastor continued.
He said that Christ also got angry when people did nothing to help others, and when the need of children went unmet.
"The largest refugee crisis in our lifetime right now is going on, and people are ignoring it. Actually, they are closing down the borders. I have been to some of the largest refugee camps in the world, but have never seen anything like this," Warren said about the main topic of the conference.
He then talked about Saddleback's efforts throughout the years to send help to refugee camps, and said that people are currently without water, with no sanitation, and no food.
"Why must we care about these refugees? Why must we care about foreigners? Why must we care about immigrants? What the Bible sometimes calls aliens, foreigners, strangers in the land? Because God commands it. All throughout Scripture, God says you are to treat people who are out of their country kindly," he continued.
The pastor pointed out that Jesus, Mary and Joseph were refugees, and did not return to Israel until King Herod died:
"God commands it all throughout Scripture — 'You must take care of the foreigner, for so were you.' And love demands it. The Bible says that 'to him that knows to do good, and does it not — it is sin.' That's why for the past 15 years Saddleback has sent over 26,000 members around the world."
Warren explained that to fulfill the Great Commission, people have to "love what Jesus loves, we have to be indifferent to what Jesus is indifferent to, and we have to be angry at the things Jesus gets angry about. And we have to sacrifice for what Jesus sacrificed."