Sharing God's Love with Muslims
Pontianak, Kalimantan, Borneo
Adventist ministry in the Muslim context is based on the understanding that it is God who has made every nation and appointed to them their time and place in the world. He did this so that they would search for Him and have the opportunity to find Him. Thus all the different people groups of the world with their different cultures and perceptions would have the opportunity to find God who is “indeed not far from us” (Acts 17:26-27, NRSV).
Read Isaiah 60 and note how in the end of time the descendants of Ishmael are to come to the gathering of the nations to worship God, bringing what has been apportioned to them in their lands. It is these “sons of Ishmael,” the Muslims, who are attracted to Jesus through believers like you.
General suggestions for building relationships with Muslims:
- Develop personal friendships with Muslims – take time to cultivate the relationship.
- Be aware of their cultural expectations. For example, never expose the bottom of your feet directly towards a Muslim. Avoid being alone with a Muslim of the opposite gender. Spiritual matters are best discussed one on one – men with men and women with women.
- Participate in their family occasions and celebrations when possible.
- Avoid argument – love is more persuasive.
- Don’t criticize Islam or use insulting terms, such as Crusade, heathen, lost, and false prophet.
- Remember that the majority of Muslims are concerned about the same things you are – preserving family values, daily strength to meet the challenges of a changing and secularizing world, and preserving community values.
- Be prepared to admit the mistakes of Christians in the past.
- Be positive – provide an upbeat, loving spiritual influence.
- Modesty in dress is an important value.
- Understand that the Qur’an differentiates between faithful “people of the Book” and those who have rejected faith. Identify yourself as one of those “faithful believers” who believes in Allah, believes in the Last Day, forbids what God has forbidden (pork, alcohol, gambling), and is earnest in prayer and diligent in works of service.
- Focus on the concerns of importance for the person at his or her position of spiritual understanding. Listen carefully for spiritual concerns they express.
- Tell Bible stories that illustrate faith-building principles – let the Holy Spirit impress them with the application.
- Don’t act as if you have the truth and want to convince them of it. Be content to talk of one small aspect of your faith at a time, using Muslim terms.
- Engage in a personal prayer ministry with and for Muslims.
Become acquainted with the culture and traditions that are so important to Muslims. Become involve in their celebrations and feasts. Be patient. Allow time for the friendship to develop. Share your faith gradually. Pray with them. Show that you have a living and vital connection with God. God will guide you as to when to share more fully your faith in Jesus.