Part of my testimony provides useful insights into evangelizing Muslims:
[Please] let the [Muslim] seeker know that they will not see all of Christ in a single person. Also, you cannot be all of Christ to any individual. Even though I could see the likeness of Christ being formed in my Christian friends, no single one of them carried Christ’s entire image. It was seeing many Christians loving each other and me that showed me much of Christ in them. I could see that He was transforming them, and recognized that I could not expect any one of them to be perfect. Neither do you have to be perfect to be effective in sharing the gospel.
Before I became a Christian, people at the university I attended knew that I was a Muslim. They also knew that there were not many Muslims that became Christians, and those that were Christian wanted to see Muslims come to the Lord. In fact, some were determined to see me come to the Lord. However, in their zeal, they did not use the best of methods.
At first, they simply tried to argue with me. When they were not trying to convince me, they really did not pay much attention to me. I am very independent, and did not need attention, but I was examining their conduct to try to find out if Christ was who He said He was. I was searching for the truth at the time. They did not know that. One day, after they had confronted me with the Bible, I told them that they would be much more effective if they actually started living the way that they believed and loved me rather than trying to force me to become a Christian. I also told them I felt that they were trying to cram the Bible down my throat rather than reason with me, and their entire approach lacked love. I told them, not wanting sympathy but to tell them the truth, that their approach made me feel like I was to them simply an object to be converted – a potential notch on the belt – rather than a person. I also told them that if becoming a Christian would make me treat people like that, I did not want to become a Christian. I thought that would be the end of their attempts at trying to convert me.
Thankfully, my words had the opposite effect. I later found out that what they did was they listened to what I had said, realized that they needed to change how they were doing things, and spent some time in repentance and asking God to show them how to love me properly. They started including me in things that they were doing and actually showed care and concern for me as a person. I started to see Christ in them, rather than people who were trying to convert me. Seeing the change as they begin to actually live out their faith was a powerful testimony to me, and part of the reason that I continued to seek understanding regarding the nature of Jesus. For any person wanting to share the gospel, please show the love of God to the people you are talking with, even if it is just for a few seconds. That love will be remembered, and is an extremely powerful way of drawing people to Christ. It is also part of obeying the Lord.
The above excerpt is from my book, Discipling Muslim Background Believers, available in digital format from this website (EPUB and MOBI) and on Amazon (Kindle (MOBI)). The printed version is only available on Amazon.
A more detailed testimony, including how God answered my three main questions (asked by most Muslim seekers) about the virgin birth, the Trinity and the nature of Jesus, can also be found in the book.
Keywords: insights, evangelism, Muslim, salvation
There are a host of risks that a Muslim seeker considers prior to becoming a Christian. There are also associated questions to answer. Some of the risks and questions are below, from the perspective of a seeker:
Losing God and heaven: The way I believe says that becoming a Christian means hell for me. Am I sure about Christianity?
Losing nation, culture, community and family: If my family and community reject me, I may have to leave my family, community, culture and country. Will I even fit in anywhere? Will people value me for who I am rather than treating me only as a convert? How will I properly pass on the heritage that I still love without family and community support?
Losing status in life: I value the status that I have because of my family name and my own status, but could lose all of that if my family and community follow Sharia law. What will become of my life? Will I also be disinherited?
Losing friends: If my friends reject me, I will be very lonely, especially if my family does and I also have to leave. How will I be able to cope?
Losing financial security: Because of community reaction, I may lose my job if I stay and will almost certainly lose it if I must leave. How will I survive? Also, if I have to leave in a hurry, I may lose all of my possessions. Again, how will I survive?
Losing my life: If I become a Christian, those around me, and perhaps even a stranger, may use Sharia law or the country’s apostasy law to kill me or have me killed. Is it worth dying to follow Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior?
A Muslim seeker faces losing his or her identity, relationships, possessions, future and even his or her life if he or she follows Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Muslim seekers face an immediate hurdle of laying down their entire lives to follow Him. From talking to hundreds of Muslim background believers — former Muslims who now follow Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior — the answer is clearly, “It’s worth it!” God provides help, mercy and grace, and meets needs. The road is rarely smooth, and is often difficult, but I can tell you from experience that knowing God in Christ is worth paying any cost.
Keywords: Muslim seeker, cost of conversion, worth it
When Christians reach out to Muslims in the love of Christ, wonderful things can happen. One example is a former Muslim/animist who has now been used by God to lead many to Christ and start hundreds of small groups and churches. His story is in Discipling Muslim Background Believers. He is MBB3, and his salvation story, in his own words, is below.
“I come from a family where my father was a very devoted Muslim. My mother came from an animist background, but became devoted through my father’s devotion. My mother was infertile, and my parents tried for years to have a baby. They did all the Muslim prayers and nothing was happening. My mother opted to go to the traditional way of seeking a solution. That took my mother to a fertility shrine. They consulted a fertility god and my mother became pregnant. My father would make me to remain loyal to Allah and my mother was making me go every year to the shrine. I was loyal there too. I grew up and I was confused about Allah and the gods. I thought about breaking my religions to the gods, but I was told that there were spirits attached to them and if you separate yourself from them the spirits will destroy you. Islam teaching on the other hand that consulting the gods was against Allah. There was confusion in my life. My Muslim teachers didn’t have a solution for me when I asked what I could do to protect myself from the spirits if I stopped going there. They just didn’t have an answer to that. I saw that truly speaking they didn’t have answers to that because the same items the use in Muslim sacrifice here are the same items they use in the shrine. They both use rams. I was beginning to think Islam doesn’t have the power to save me from this shrine. Where do I go? I was confused. A couple shared stories about a man called Jesus that has power over everything God has created.
One question that was in my heart was the question of assurance. What’s the proof that this Jesus is going to save me from the destructive powers of evil? The stories were told about Jesus driving demons out of a demon possessed man and raising the dead and He himself rising up from the dead and declaring that He is the good shepherd for humanity. Those were things that really answered question in my heart.”
Keywords: MBB, Muslim salvation story, Christian, Christian love, discipleship, Muslim ministry
Some estimates say that there are about 1.8 billion Muslims in the world. While some of them are decidedly against outsiders, most of them are loving, hospitable people, even to outsiders. Yet, they are mainly unreached by the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Being devoted to Christ (see previous post) means doing what He says and becoming more like Him. Part of that means loving those whom He loves. There are more than 2 billion Christians in the world, but only about 4,200 missionaries to the entire Muslim world. Thanks to their sacrificial efforts, there are currently about 10 million Muslim background believers in the world. That means that less than 1% of Muslims have become Christians. As stunning as that number is, consider that surveys estimate that 80% of Muslims do not even know a Christian.
I have heard many reasons given for not reaching out to Muslims. Among them are that Muslims are strangers or that they are considered enemies. For Christians, those are not really excuses because we are called to love the stranger and our enemies.
I write these things not to bring up guilt or shame. Those are poor motivations to reach out to people. Christians have the privilege of responding to the love of God that moves out of their spirits and reaches out to invite others to know the blessings that we have received. We get to invite others into the blessing that we know every day.
Some people feel the tug of the Holy Spirit to reach out to Muslims, but do not know what to do. They may even feel unprepared, especially when they consider that missionaries usually prepare for 2 to 4 years before entering the Muslim world. Many could not spend that long to prepare even if they wanted to.
The task involves at least two things: 1) equipping Muslim background believers to grow in faith so that they can extend God’s kingdom; and 2) evangelizing Muslims. Among the many problems encountered while trying to complete this task is the Muslim community’s reaction to a Muslim becoming a Muslim background believer (“MBB”) – it isolates and persecutes the MBB. MBBs need easily accessible biblical teaching in a format that can show them how to progressively grow in their new faith.
My books give MBBs the opportunity to progressively grow in their faith even in isolation. The books also help Christians accomplish the task described above by giving insights into Islam and Muslims. They further provide practical steps for reaching Muslims and then discipling them.
To disciple an MBB, Christians can use Discipling Muslim Background Believers. It’s in an handbook format and contains a discipleship reading path that guides the reader through various short sections that will: help an MBB grow in faith; correct misconceptions about God; help an MBB deal with spiritual and physical problems that MBBs commonly face; and help them start and grow small groups and even churches.
The discipleship pathway also deals with evangelizing Muslims, another part of reaching out in Christian love to the Muslim world. The Muslim seeker pathway helps a Christian understand how to reach out to a Muslim and provides several ways that I have found useful in reaching out to Muslims.
There are Bible studies that correspond to the discipleship and seeker pathways, providing those reaching out to the Muslim world readily available materials for starting small groups.
You don’t have to be a missionary to use my books, though they would be useful for missionaries. The books neither follow nor prevent the use of any specific outreach methodology because the handbook, to which the other four relate, is a reference book. It can be used effectively in a variety of ways. The handbook can be useful to Christians who are just beginning to minister to Muslims and to those who have been ministering to Muslims successfully for decades. Christian ministers that have looked at them have remarked that they are clear, easy to use, and don’t require lots of reading in order to be useful.
My books can help equip Christians to effectively reach out to Muslims and disciple Muslim background believers.
Salvation and church growth are God’s work, and He invites Christians to join with Him in that work. He is calling some of us to reach out to Muslims. If you feel that tug in your heart, respond to God’s call and get yourself equipped for the work. The extent of Muslim response, in some ways, depends on how Christians respond to that call of the Holy Spirit.
Imagine what would happen if even a slightly larger portion of 2 billion Christians would effectively reach out to the Muslim world with God’s invitation to join His family and to grow in discipleship.
Keywords: Christian, evangelism, gospel, MBB, MBB discipleship, Discipling Muslim Background Believers
God willing, I will release books next week.
Keyword: MBB discipleship, MBB materials