Muslims in America: A Call to Missions
It’s a Tuesday evening. You’ve just finished dinner and decide to watch the news. A story about violence in America flashes across the screen. You see the ISIS flag flapping in the wind and your eyes settle on a group of women in burkas walking down a dirt road. An uncomfortable pang hits you in the stomach as you think to yourself, “What is happening?”
Through fear-mongering, the media successfully paints the perspective that all Muslims are dangerous. We know the truth: there are violent and radical extremists in all people groups.
What do we as followers of Christ do to respond when we see this displayed in the media?
One of our Intercultural missionaries is a missionary who believes that it is because of inaccessibility and ignorance that Muslims are difficult to reach. A missionary cannot simply go to a Muslim country and proclaim the Gospel because of law-binding regulations and blacklisting. A lot of Christians think of the word “terrorist” when they hear the word “Muslim”. This particular missionary believes this is due to lies portrayed in the media. This missionary acknowledges that we live in a fear-based culture and from that comes great insensitivity and inaccessibility. This missionary advises people that they do not have to know everything about Islam to reach Muslims and to form a relationship. “Muslims are some of the kindest, most hospitable people and they are hungry for friendship.”
Tommy Hodum has been a U.S. missionary for thirty years. His answer is to engage Muslims and openly share the Gospel with them. When Tommy was in college, God showed Tommy his passion for the lost and called him to serve Muslims. According to Tommy, there are three components to engaging Muslims: God, the lost, and the missionary. That means that as Christ-followers, we need to understand the unredeemed mind of the lost, have a solid relationship with God, and to acknowledge that it is up to Christians to clearly communicate the Gospel with the lost. Tommy urges people to know that prayer works, build long-term relationships with Muslims, and to persevere in ministry. His response: “What are we allowing to motivate us? God? Media? Danger? If we allow the outside to dominate the way we respond (to negativity), we cannot hear the truth of the Holy Spirit. There is an ever-present need for us to evangelize the lost. There is a certain distinctiveness to the call of God on people’s lives. Personally, God has called me to reach Muslims through faithfulness and obedience.”
In response to the negativity in the media regarding Muslims, missionary Trey Hancock responds, “The media is wrong and news stations are stirring up trouble to make money. I say instead, come to Dearborn and help. Jesus is aware of what’s happening. He brought us here to seek Him and we are all part of that in Dearborn. These are our neighbors and if you don’t answer that call, you are running from ministry. The Middle Eastern culture is quite hospitable. It sure is hard to get in a fight when you’re eating all the time. It is 97% Muslim where we live in Dearborn. My wife and I have lived here 31 years. Muslim people will not understand Jesus if you are not present in their life. They will see Jesus in your life as they speak His language and wear His clothes. My advice is to wrap your arms around Muslims and pray for them.”
How do we reach out to the Muslim community?
Be accessible. Be understanding. Be loving.