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Understanding and Reaching Muslims

Why reach Muslim students? Before I share why we need to reach Muslim students, let me briefly share my own story coming from this background. I grew up in a moderate Muslim family in Central Asia. However, my grandmother was always devout. I was always taught that since I’m from a particular ethnic group, I’m a Muslim by birth. I’ve never questioned it or doubted it. Because of my grandmother, I was actually more devout than the rest of my family. I even took some classes to learn Arabic, so that I can read and recite the Quran during our family gatherings because the proper way in Islam is to pray, is reciting verses in the Quran in Arabic language.

When I started college, I was introduced to a Christian community back home in my country. I remember meeting missionaries from the West who were very friendly. I met them at the English conversation club at the university. It was such a pleasure to get to know them and hear their stories. Later on they invited me to the church. When I went there, at first I was confused and very critical of their worship. It was very different from my upbringing as a Muslim. However, their love to God and to each other was so attractive to me. They welcomed me with love. Of course, as a Muslim, I had some questions like, how can Jesus be God where I only believed he was a mere man, a prophet, according to the Quran? They were very patient with me and answered all my objections.

At that point, I was also seeking God even more. I felt like in Islam God was so distant and impersonal, so I was open to embracing Christ. Of course, it took time. Ultimately, I invited Christ into my life as my God and my savior.

Let me share the three main reasons why we need to reach Muslims. First, is numbers. Second, the opportunity. Third, is the need. Let me share a little bit about the numbers. There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. They are members of the largest unreached people group in the world. Second, opportunity. There are over 150,000 Muslim students that God brought to the US. Most come from a difficult to access countries like Iran or Saudi Arabia, and they’re more receptive here. The third is the need. They are lost without Jesus. Some say that up to 80% of all international students will never enter an American home here than in their home countries.

In order for us to be effective ambassadors for Christ to our Muslim friends, we need to know what we believe and why. Muslims will challenge our beliefs in the Bible, God, Jesus, and the means of salvation. Know more about what they believe, their culture, and their worldview. There was a survey of Muslims who came to faith in Christ, and they were asked, “What (are) the most important reasons that impacted them to become followers of Christ?” They asked about 750 people from 30 countries and 50 different ethnic groups. I’d like you to take a few minutes within your group to discuss this. What do you think are the main reasons Muslims decide to follow Christ?

What do you think they were? It could be evidence for the resurrection of Christ, the historical evidence that Jesus really died on the cross, evidence for the reliability of the New Testament. Maybe the contradictions in the Quran. Not one apologetic issue, even intellectual issue made the top five. All of them are heart issues or emotional issues.

Let me give you five top reasons why Muslims decide to follow Christ.

The first one is the lifestyle of followers of Jesus, the love that the followers of Jesus exhibit in their relationship with others and their treatment of women as equals.

Second is the power of God in answered prayers and healing, usually dreams about Jesus reported. Pray for and with your Muslim friends even in the name of Jesus or Isa, that’s how they call it. I would even ask your Muslim friends if they had a dream about Jesus. We have reports that a significant number of Muslims come to Christ through a vision or a dream.

The third is dissatisfaction with the type of religion they had experienced in the Quran and how it emphasizes God’s punishment over his love, religious militancy, and the failure of religious law to transform society. Let them discover this for themselves. You’re not the person to point these things out. If you do, it almost always be perceived as an attack on their identity, their culture, nationality, family, et cetera, not a faith, or a religious issue. The great example is the students from Iran. We see that in Iran the religious government runs the society. A lot of the Iranian students are tired and worn out because of that. A lot of them come to the US hungry for the spiritual food.

Number four, the spiritual truth in the Bible. It became compelling for them and key to their understanding God’s character. I would encourage you to get them in God’s word regardless of their beliefs or objections that has been changed or corrupted. When they experience God’s word and the truth, the intellectual objections usually vanish without any intellectual change of mind. Again, it is always, always a heart issue, not intellectual issue. An example is my friend Hussein. He came to our Fall Retreat, and we were studying Mark 2 where Jesus forgave the sins of paralytic. He was fascinated by that. Ultimately, he became a believer, which we praised God for that.

Number five is the scriptural teachings about the love of God expressed through the life and teachings of Jesus. Let me share five key components of effective outreach. First, is pray. Realize that we are in a spiritual battle. Only God can change their hearts. The third is, let me share with you an acronym that I learnt from a friend, PUSH, pray until something happens. The second one is make friends. Focus on their felt needs, their living, their transitional long-term, a lot of them international students coming to a new country. The third one is language. They always look for English conversation partners. Fourth is they’re lonely. They need some social opportunities.

Let me give you an example, a story of Rahman, a Saudi student that came to Houston. He was lonely; he was looking for a place to practice his English. A volunteer reached out to him and helped him with his English, befriended him, loved on him. Eventually, Rahman became a believer in Christ. It was an amazing story. The third is answer the objections. Of course, your Muslim friends will have a lot of questions like, has the Bible been corrupted? Why is Jesus God? What is Trinity? Jesus was never crucified, was he? Number four; model Jesus by your actions and your words. Demonstrate Jesus’ love, grace, mercy as you share a life with them. Number five is be patient. Remember, there are many barriers to Muslims to follow Jesus, as they are often social or cultural, but not theological. Continue to answer and ask questions. Continue to love them.

To summarize, pray, make friends, answer their objections, model Jesus, and be patient. Finally, friends, as you reach out to Muslim friends you’ll notice that your own faith in Jesus will grow. We look forward to all that God does in and through your life.

Understanding and Reaching Muslims

Davood

There are over 150,000 Muslim students that God brought to the U.S. Most come from difficult to access countries like Iran or Saudi Arabia, and they’re more receptive here. What do you think are the main reasons Muslims decide to follow Christ? Davood, a former Muslim, guides you through what effective ministry to Muslim students looks like.

There are over 150,000 Muslim students that God brought to the U.S. Most come from difficult to access countries like Iran or Saudi Arabia, and they’re more receptive here. What do you think are the main reasons Muslims decide to follow Christ? Davood, a former Muslim, guides you through what effective ministry to Muslim students looks like.

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