Greg Wilton insists he’s not a pioneer in his field or even a leading expert.
In his new role as the Send Relief National Director for Refugees and Immigrants, the term Wilton (MAMI ’09, Th.M. ’11, Ph.D. ’12) prefers is “leading enthusiast.”
Believers typically understand “God’s heart for the nations” as motivation for carrying the Gospel to people groups overseas, but God is bringing the nations here, Wilton explained.
“The Lord’s given me this assignment to connect His ‘heart for the nations’ … with the nations coming to us here in North America,” Wilton said.
Often called “the Ellis Island of the South,” Clarkston, Ga. – Wilton’s home base -- has seen thousands of refugees and immigrants come through as they await placement elsewhere by a refugee resettlement agency.
Estimates say representatives of more than fifty nations, 100 languages, and 120 people groups are in the Clarkston area, with many coming from countries with unreached or unengaged people groups, Wilton said.
“[Clarkston] is just a tremendously strategic place in the South,” Wilton said.
Wilton, who recently finished a three-year term with IMB in Southeast Asia with wife Abby, directs the Clarkston Ministry Center, a Send Relief center in Clarkston. The center is home to the Clarkston International Bible Church, a Southern Baptist congregation which serves as the center’s primary ministry partner.
Hosted also at the Clarkston Ministry Center are congregations of believers from Sudan, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nepal, Pakistan, Madagascar and Burma. As refugees maintain connections with friends and family back home -- some from regions with unreached people groups -- the world is impacted by the Gospel.
Wilton will collaborate and coordinate with the numerous organizations, state conventions, associations and churches that have long served refugees and immigrants in hopes of bringing about new opportunities for compassion ministry and service.
“I want to devote my life to reaching all people everywhere and I want to do that in tangible ways,” Wilton said. “Send Relief has provided me an incredible platform to engage in meaningful, compassion-based ministries so that we can keep the Great Commission moving forward.”
The center provides job placement services, education assistance, food assistance, English as a Second Language and citizenship classes, and employment opportunities through partnerships with organizations such as the Refugee Sewing Society.
Many services are available through the work of local church partners and mission groups, Wilton said.
“The more people get involved, the more believers become aware of the nations coming to us, the more we can be the hands and feet of Christ,” Wilton said.
A virtual tour Aug. 27, 1 p.m. ET, will introduce viewers to the center and will include live interviews with refugees and church partners. Information on how to start a refugee ministry will be provided. To register for the event, go to bit.ly/2C4DZxc.
A recent Baptist Press (BP) article featured Greg and his brother Rob Wilton (M.Div. ’11) in an article highlighting the brothers’ service with Send Relief. As a NAMB Send City missionary in Pittsburgh, Rob is lead pastor of Vintage Church Pittsburgh and oversees the Pittsburgh Send Relief ministry center. Don Wilton (M.Div., ’82), Th.D. ’86), their father is a former faculty member and longtime pastor of First Baptist Church, Spartanburg, S. C.
The BP article included this quote from Greg Wilton regarding the opportunity God has given believers.
“God continues to bring the nations to the U.S., and that is great news,” Greg said. “God wants for Himself a global family, and it is my joy to help all believers be part of the whole church taking the whole Gospel to the whole world, beginning here in North America.”