Have you noticed Muslims living in your neighborhood? Attending your children’s school? Shopping at the local WalMart or grocery store? Muslims continue to immigrate to the United States as the wars in the Middle East roar. Some are fleeing for their lives, with literally the clothes on their backs. Others are here as students in local colleges and universities. Many have been in the U.S. for a long time and are citizens. And some are looking for a new faith. They are disillusioned by current events in their home countries and they are seeking God. Will you help them find Him?
How to begin
Steps to make a difference
With a partner and prayer. Connect with at least one other person in your church or area who is interested in reaching Muslims. Begin to pray together for Muslims you have contact with and pray for God’s appointments to talk with them. Pray they would have dreams of Jesus, and that they would accept teachings and Scripture booklets about the life of Jesus. Continue to pray for your Muslim friends throughout this process.
Become informed. Listen to and read current news reports to learn what is happening throughout the Muslim world, what cities are being attacked and from where the refugees are coming. Learn what Muslims believe by reading reliable resources. Go to the COMMA network for good resources and recommended reading on what Muslims believe and how to witness to them.
Begin conversations with Muslim friends and co-workers. Ask questions about their family and children’s school situation, and of news from “back home” if they are immigrants. Be interested in them and their lives.
The approach is always men-to-men and women-to-women. Do not cross gender lines, as this is not culturally or religiously acceptable.
Begin conversations about their culture and traditions. Then, venture into what they believe. Do not take an “attack” approach or tell them they are wrong. Do not wave the Bible in their faces. Instead, be interested and listen to what they believe. This may give you insight into whether they are a dedicated Muslim or seeking something else, and it may open the door for you to share what you believe.
Help them settle into life in the US, if they are new arrivals. This might include learning English (many communities and churches have ESL classes), tutoring for their school children, finding a doctor and dentist, locating stores and government offices, and learning about American life. Members of your church may be able to help with some areas.
Give a gift of the “Life of Jesus” DVD, a Scripture portion, or a seasonal worship CD, especially around Muslim or Christian holidays. Allow the holiday attitude to lead your gift. “We give each other gifts during the Christmas season, and I’d like to give you a gift that has meant a lot to me.” Be gracious if they decline the gift; they may request it later.
Learn how to build bridges to share your faith. Answer their questions. The “Journey to Jesus” DVD curriculum will help you.
Practice hospitality. Invite your Muslim friend (and their family) to your home for tea, for a meal or for a BBQ. You could team up with your prayer partner. You will probably be invited to their home in return. See my detailed article on the COMMA website, “The Ministry of Hospitality.”
Invite them to a concert, play, or celebration at your church or in your community. Explain the reasons for and traditions of Christmas and other holidays. Ask if they have any questions.
Continue to follow-up your conversations and build your friendship. Many Muslims are looking for American friends; they want to be accepted in their new country. Introduce them to your Christian friends and any Muslim-background believers (MBBs) you may know.
Begin introducing them to the Bible. When they have questions about the Bible or Christianity, suggest that you read the Bible together. Begin with Matthew and show them that the story of Jesus is found in The Gospels. Realize that they may not know anything about the Bible. If you feel comfortable leading a basic Bible study, you could move to an organized study of The Gospels. Resources are on the COMMA web site. Pray for them to understand.
Offer to pray for them in Jesus’ name when they share a problem or difficulty. Most Muslims appreciate prayer.
As your Muslim friend hears and reads God’s Word and trusts you as a friend, you have the opportunity to help them find salvation through Jesus. Remember, this is a long process for Muslims, so don’t give up. Allow God time to work in their heart.