People often wonder if they are equipped to minister to someone going through the loss and grief that persecuted MBBs experience. The answer is: yes!
You do not have to have gone through the same thing as another in order to effectively minister to them. Sometimes simply being with someone is enough to help them through an awful time. The people that most effectively ministered to me in college knew little to nothing of my culture or my pain. They were friendly, and we enjoyed each other’s company — it was more than enough.
If you can walk with an MBB through the pain, please do so. You don’t usually need to discuss pain unless they do. Your presence alone will be like a salve for them, especially if you help them enjoy the normalcy of life and perhaps even make them smile a time or two. The ministry of being there is underrated these days. It is extremely powerful for ministry to the persecuted.
Keywords: Being there, MBB, persecution
MBBs often wonder about how to have a productive and real devotional life – a time to seek God in His word and through prayer and learning from Him. Some people examine their schedule, set aside an amount of time, then read passages that they pick and pray from their prayer list.
Most of those people are making the major decisions regarding how they approach God unless they do the following – ask Him what to read about, people to pray for and in what order. It’s also useful to leave time for God to bring scripture to mind and people to pray for, perhaps about things they may not have asked for. He may bring things to mind even after your scheduled time. Ask the Lord to make you increasingly sensitive to His promptings.
Christians have an intimate relationship with God, and can make choices about how that relationship progresses, but those choices are best made when directed by the one who knows what we need. Our lives are best lived when submitted to God in Christ, and so are our devotional lives.
Keywords: MBB, devotional life, God-led
God calls each Christian to work with Him in His purposes, whether in vocational ministry or not. If you feel God calling you to something but you don’t know the details of the call, please consider making your life easier by unreservedly saying yes to God. Do it before you fully know what He wants – it sounds something like, “I’ll obey you, Lord, no matter what. Whatever it is, I will obey quickly, cheerfully and completely.”
God rules over all, and if you sincerely want His will, He eventually removes all ifs, ands and buts from your life. However, the removal can come through a disciplining process.
Rather than go through too much of that, our best option is to get to fully know the love that our heavenly father has for us. Doing so will teach us that love and God’s character. Then we can boldly and affirmatively answer God’s call, knowing He is with us. He will provide answers and details about the call as we go.
Keywords: Discipleship, calling, obedience, submission to God
Discipleship often leads to more people coming into the kingdom of Christ. This increase requires selecting leaders. People commonly select leaders using filters such as prior relevant experience, number of followers, and education. Though these filters have value, using them alone can lead to missing some very good people.
The common filters mentioned above would have, at the beginning of their dealings with God in the Bible, ruled out as leaders: Abraham; Moses; Joseph; David; the eleven good disciples; Paul; and Jesus. Without them as leaders we have no father of faith, no Israel, no Law, no reason to write the New Testament, no salvation, and no way to recognize God. Though extreme examples, choosing God’s way matters.
There have to be better filters than the common ones, or at least other ones that will not exclude God’s chosen ones. This is especially true in contexts where there are few Christians – contexts in which there is little to no opportunity to gain experience, followers or education.
A way to select leaders in a Muslim context is to rely on the leading of the Holy Spirit. I discuss this further in Discipling Muslim Background Believers. Following the Holy Spirit is not always easy, and you may make mistakes. However, you will not miss those He selects to the extent that you follow Him.
Will we choose those He selects or take the safe, common path of backing only those who already seem successful? If we choose the latter, are we willing to miss the leaders that God selects and the blessing that comes with them?
Keywords: Muslim background believer, discipleship, leadership, selection, Holy Spirit
Christians are called to love God and others, as well as seeking God’s kingdom and His righteousness. To do this, Christians should love as Jesus did – by serving others for their benefit. For an MBB leader, and all Christian leaders, the outworking of your calling often involves magnifying God by building up others.
A key understanding to leading this way is that the kingdom is not yours, but God’s. Though you lead, your leadership is a stewardship of service rather than seeking your own glory or position. A true leader serves others for their sake and for the sake of God’s kingdom.
Jesus did this with His disciples. They had no track record of leadership success in the church. There was no church. He saw what was in them, and led them by investing time and effort in them. He taught them truths that developed their giftings and callings. He did not wait for them to succeed and then side with them. He led them by siding with them, encouraging them, equipping them and then releasing them into ministry when few if any believed they could lead anything.
Potential MBB leaders are often in geographical areas where there is very little of the church nearby. Because of the great need for leaders, those that lead potential MBB leaders often must commit to those potential leaders before seeing success. The process of selection must be led by the Holy Spirit, and should be free of the perversion of self-reference.
As indicated above, leaders are most effective when operating with a motive of serving another for the benefit of the one served. The leader can be derailed if they serve self-referentially, often asking, “What does that do for me or to me?” That attitude is a form of pride. It can manifest in many ways, including not fully training someone for fear that they might surpass the trainer; withholding support or blessing; preventing someone from operating in their calling; or not supporting someone until that person is fully established as a leader. The last one indicates that you are not really leading — you are simply jumping on bandwagons. All of the listed manifestations lack the hallmark of love — serving for another’s benefit.
Leaders, if you lead self-referentially, you do not have to stop leading. Repent of your sin, ask for God’s grace, change your motive, and lead in a way that encourages others to find their giftings and callings, support them actively, and release them into ministry. You do not need to protect your position nor seek your own advancement — God is the sole giver of both position and advancement.
In a sense, leaders, the way you choose to lead — serving or self-referentially — will bring spiritual life or death to others. Those you lead will either flourish in God’s kingdom or be restricted by your selfishness, leading to a loss in their ministry and thereby in God’s kingdom. God holds you to account for the way that you lead. Please pay close attention to your motives and actions when leading, ensuring that you are serving others without self-reference and for their benefit.
Keywords: leadership, MBB, love, self-referential