The Common Good

Shifts Within the Evangelical Community

Date: January 21, 2013

Each week, Spanish-language services draw about 1,100 worshippers to the 20,000-member Willow Creek Church in the Chicagoland area. Many are undocumented immigrants, a group also credited with helping grow the church’s care center—which provides everything from basic needs such as groceries, shelter and education to employment guidance and legal consultation—into a full-service enterprise serving 17,000.

In the past decade, there has been growing interest in human rights and other social justice issues among evangelical communities, a shift which large evangelical organizations have both influenced and supported. In 2004, the National Association of Evangelicals publicly called its constituents to greater civic engagement. Hispanic evangelical groups spoke out for immigration reform in 2006. In 2007, two Christian evangelical organizations—Sojourners and Evangelicals for Social Action— collaborated to create Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform. In 2009, the National Association of Evangelicals wrote a formal resolution for reform.