Perhaps you are aware of Muslims in your neighborhood or at work. You have been building relationships with them and sharing Christ. But it’s difficult to reach Muslims by yourself. Others in your church or fellowship group may not be interested in reaching Muslims or they don’t have time. So what can you do to motivate other Christians to reach out to Muslims around them, or to build a team?
- Expectations — Don’t expect your entire church or group to make Muslim outreach a priority. They might already have a tough time witnessing to family and friends. Your team might only consist of a few people, but that’s a start. Jesus started with 12 apostles and they reached the world!
- Information and Awareness — The first step is to help Christians recognize that Muslims do live in their area. Muslim-run businesses, shops and restaurants are springing up everywhere (Indian, Middle-Eastern, Southeast Asian, etc.) Do some research to find where Muslims are located. Take photos of their businesses and mosques, for examples and not simply to create a list, then show a PowerPoint presentation to a group in your church. Take others with you when you visit the businesses and restaurants. Help them become aware of the Muslim presence near you.
- Help them overcome negative responses — Many people react negatively to Muslim immigrants and refugees, because of terrorism throughout the world. But only a tiny percentage of Muslims are terrorists. The majority want to live in peace and have a better life than “back home.” Talk about the fear, anger, indifference or even hate that Christians feel toward Muslims. Share Acts 17:26-27 to show them God’s view; He moves people around the world so they can seek Him and find Him. More Muslims are coming to Christ now than in the entire history of Christianity. God is at work among Muslims! Share positive things God is doing, along with testimonies of Muslims coming to Christ. If you know any Muslim-background believers (MBBs) in your area, invite them to a meal with your fellowship group, so they can hear the MBB’s story and needs of Muslims.
- Begin a prayer/strategy group for reaching Muslims — Pray together with other Christians for Muslims you know, meet and work with, which will deepen their awareness of the need to share Jesus with Muslims. Pray through the “30 Days of Prayer for Muslims during Ramadan” together. Share prayer requests with a prayer partner or team. Ask God to give you opportunities to meet and build friendships with Muslims, and then share Christ with them. Retired or former missionaries, missionary kids, or people who have lived overseas are often available to pray and reach out to people from other cultures and religions.
- Teach a Sun. School class or small group — Lead people who show interest in reaching Muslims; you are probably the “Muslim expert” in your church. So inform and educate yourself, then share basic info of beliefs of Muslims, culture of the Muslims that live near you and provide basic resources for others. However, beware of alarmist articles and books that would build fear among your group. Offer a more in-depth class or discussion group, such as Journey to Jesus DVD curriculum, or Bridges (Crescent Project), or invite a missionary or Christian college professor to teach, in order to increase knowledge and practical application in reaching Muslims.
- Combine learning with outreach — Beware of information overload; people need to practice what they are learning. Look for outreach opportunities in your area: World Relief, various Muslim and refugee ministries, and ESL (English as a second language) programs always need volunteers. Help a Muslim refugee family get settled by donating furniture, clothing, a car, etc., or help them with utilities, schools, English and where to shop. Be a friend, who happens to love Jesus. If you are already involved in a ministry to Muslims, then mentor someone else by taking them with you. Prepare them to observe what you do and teach, but not to engage, as it is a time of learning. Debrief afterwards, talk about the culture, discuss any questions and allow the trainee to participate little-by-little. Muslims and MBBs usually need to learn to trust a new person before they will listen to them.
By equipping others, you will expand your ministry and help others reach Muslims with the gospel.