If you have been following along with this series of articles, you have been praying for Muslims in your community and building relationships with them. Now it is time to let them in on the good news! But how? Here are a few suggestions for bringing the gospel into your relationship in a non-threatening way (for you or for them).
Pray for and with them.
As mentioned in an earlier blog post, Muslims are called to gather together for prayer five times a day. Because Christians pray in their closets (Matthew 6:6), many followers of Islam assume prayer (and even God) is not an important part of the Christian’s life. For this reason, praying with a Muslim can be a powerful testimony that opens the door for further conversation on spiritual topics.
Another benefit of praying with a Muslim friend in the name of Jesus is the way that prayer demonstrates your concern for them —and God’s concern for them when they recognize His answer to the prayer.
Listen to their story.
As you explain the plan of salvation to a Muslim, he or she may ask you a lot of questions or may become skeptical or furious. Possibly, they will object to some Christian doctrines. This is not unusual.
Remember where they are come from and be patient. Love, patience and perseverance are vital tools when witnessing to a Muslim. Always refer to the gospel when answering questions. The gospel is your most valuable source of information.
But, as you do all of this, do it from a position of a listener — let them tell you what they believe and what their stumbling blocks are. And if you don’t know an answer, don’t worry. Tell them you will get back to them and then find the answer.
Show the value of Jesus in your daily life.
In addition to praying, mentioning Jesus in casual conversation can help a Muslim friend or coworker recognize that being a follower of Christ is important to you. Don’t be inauthentic, but rather allow Jesus into the natural communication throughout the day. Did you see something new in your Bible reading during the morning? Share that with your friend.
As they share a concern about an event in their life, can you relate it to a story from the Bible? Simply say, “That reminds me of a story Jesus once told his followers….” Is your church having an event that is of cultural, as well as spiritual, interest (musical program, Christmas, Easter or other special event). Invite your friend to be your guest.
Most importantly, share your testimony. Let them see how Jesus has made a difference in your life. If you grew up in a Christian home, the best thing to emphasize is when following Jesus stopped being something you did for your parents or simply following rules, and instead became a personal relationship.
Get to Scripture and stories.
As soon as possible, provide a Bible for them in a language they can easily understand. If you can, first give a Gospel (Luke or Mark), so they don’t get discouraged by the length of the book or get lost in the big picture. Alternatively, you may want to start with Psalms and Proverbs, because many Muslims are attracted to poetry and couplets.
Your approach is most important. Help make the Bible palatable to them. Show the same respect for your Bible that they show for the Quran. Take the time to explain how the Bible works including the major divisions (Old and New Testament) and smaller divisions (book, chapter or verse.) Clear misunderstandings when they come up.
The apostle Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 2:4 that when we share the gospel we don’t need clever words. We need to talk about Christ and Him crucified. I have found a simple Roman Road presentation is far more effective in helping a Muslim come to faith. As mentioned above, you may need to answer questions, but when sharing the gospel, at least present a simple, clear gospel and then ask for a response.
Finally, remember that the Word of God is living and active and sharper than a two-edged sword. God promises it will not return void. There is no power in our arguments, but there is power in His Word! Even if our friends do not accept the authority of the Bible, we want to encourage them to read it.
Be ready to follow-up with short and long-term discipleship.
What happens when your prayer is answered, and they say yes to Christ? How will you help them grow in their faith? Do you have a safe place for them to come and learn what it means to be a follower of Christ without being overwhelmed by the American church?
Of course, a brief article like this can only give a few bits of advice. So, let me point you to two great resources where you can learn more.
Nabeel Qureshi has written an autobiographical account of how he came to know Jesus titled, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. The book is well-written, easy to follow and thorough in dealing with the major bridges and barriers to sharing the gospel with a Muslim. It also offers tips on discipling a new believer.
Any 3: Anyone, Anywhere Any Time by Mike Shipman is a step-by-step discussion guide for leading Muslims to faith and discipleship.