16 - GOLDEN RULES FOR CONVERSATION WITH MUSLIMS?
Rule 1: Pray, Pray, Pray
Mission work among Muslims is a spiritual battle. Only Christ can change Muslims. Therefore prayer is the indispensable foundation for mission work among Muslims. -- Pray that those who are closed will open up, that those searching will find the way to Jesus, and that converts will remain in Christ. -- Pray before an outreach, that Jesus will give grace; pray during the conversations, that Jesus will lead and guide; pray after the encounter, that the message shared will not be lost.
Rule 2: Practical Services of Love
The blind spot in the field of vision of Islam are voluntary services of love. They expresses the love of God for His enemies in a unique way. -- Examples: a) visit Muslim asylum seekers and accompany them when they need assistance filing out forms at local authorities; b) attend to and encourage Muslims who are sick; c) show interest in the customs and life histories of Muslims; d) take seriously the doubt and frustration of Muslims who are searching; e) do not abandon converts when they are persecuted after their conversion.
Rule 3: Every Muslim is Different
We should not lump all Muslims into one category, but rather, with tact take every Muslim seriously in his individuality. -- Turks, for example, differ from Arabs; you need to speak differently with the educated as opposed to the uneducated (illiterate); radical and conservative Muslims need different answers than do traditional and secular Muslims; the faith of orthodox Muslims is unlike that of members of Islamic sects and special groups; women do not live the same way as men do and children not the same way as adults.
Rule 4: Learn from Converts
The most effective missionaries among Muslims are active Christians, who themselves were formerly Muslims. They don't need to learn the language and the culture of their former brothers in faith. They know Islam from the inside, and know how it is possible to get out. Whoever regularly accompanies missionary-minded converts will learn much faster and more effectively how to reach Muslims. Part of this is to support converts physically and emotionally and to serve them wherever necessary.
Rule 5: Use Media Devices
If you use literature (for example a Bible, Gospel, evangelistic booklet or tract), audio cassettes, CD's, Christian videos or addresses of evangelistic internet websites, you can significantly extend the scope of your missionary services among Muslims. -- A visit or a single encounter is limited in time. With the help of the content of media devices that you leave behind, a Muslim can occupy himself much longer and more comprehensively with the message of the Gospel. -- Furthermore, he can do that in a conservative environment with much less danger to himself, when, in the quietness of his chamber, he contemplates what Jesus offers him.
Rule 6: Patience
Usually it takes much time for a Muslim to open himself up to the Gospel and commit his life to Jesus. And it takes even more time for him to be reshaped into the likeness of Christ after his conversion. Here much patience is necessary: a) patience when a Muslim attacks the Gospel (not every attack should be taken as seriously as some others); b) patience when a Muslim falls back into an Islamic pattern of behavior (it takes long before the Sharia of Islam in the life of a convert is replaced by the law of Christ); c) patience when converts are persecuted (here, too, time heals and helps to get over many wounds).
Rule 7: Follow-up more Important than Evangelism
Today it has become relatively easy to call Muslims to faith in Jesus. However, it is much more difficult to keep converts believing in Jesus and to have them integrated into Christian Churches. Therefore follow-up among converts is an even greater challenge today than evangelism. Fathering a child is one thing; being a father another! -- Practical follow-up can involve, for example, if necessary to find a wife or a job for the convert, or even providing him with new relatives, if he was cast out of his Muslim home. -- In extreme cases, providing medical care for him may be necessary, if the convert was tortured by his former brothers-in-faith to try and bring him back to Islam.
Rule 8: Expertise is Helpful
Whoever takes time to learn more about Islam, and to search for Christian answers to Islam, will profit greatly in his ministry among Muslims. Only a physician who has studied sicknesses and their treatment can, with a certain measure of success, try to heal and alleviate such sufferings. -- It is also very helpful if you know something of the culture and language of the Muslims with whom you are in contact. Here active converts have an enormous advantage over Western Christians. Therefore, they can be much more effective in their mission outreach among Muslims and we should repent and learn from them.
Rule 9: Ask Questions and have References Read Aloud
Islam is a religion of submission and of unconditional obedience. Active questioning and reflecting are not encouraged. This situation must be met with you introducing skillful questions that make sense to Muslims in your encounters with them. -- It is better to have a Muslim read aloud a text of the Bible, and then to ask him what the meaning is of what he just read, than for you yourself to read the Bible text aloud and then explain to him what it means.
Rule 10: Memorization of Bible Verses
During their childhood many Muslims memorized parts of the Koran. The best way to spiritually treat this deep layer of Islamic consciousness is to have the seeking Muslim or the convert fill up his sub-conscious mind with the Word of God. -- Therefore, the memorization of Bible texts is a great help in ministering to Muslims. To be a good example, we should do the same and also memorize Bible verses along with them.
Rule 11: One-on-one Talks Better than Group Discussions
According to the Sharia, whoever abandons Islam must be put to death if he does not repent within three days. For Muslims it is a disgrace if they open up to the Christian faith. -- When several Muslims together talk with you about Christ, each one is afraid that the other would betray him if he showed too much interest in the Gospel. In conversations with individual Muslims, it is easier to find out where they stand in regard to Christ. For this reason, one-to-one talks are better than group discussions.
Rule 12: Men with Men and Women with Women
Sexuality plays a different role in Islam than in Christianity. -- If a man talks with a Muslim woman all alone, he will be suspected by Muslims of wanting to take advantage of the woman sexually. -- If a woman talks with a Muslim man all alone, a Muslim will be led to conclude that she is offering herself to him bodily. -- In order to avoid such misunderstandings, it is advisable for men to talk only with men and women to talk only with women.