Missionaries who work among followers of Islam tend to ratchet those characteristics up another notch or two. In the final analysis, however, they are fairly ordinary people who have a high trust level in God and a sense of adventure concerning what God just might do.
Work among followers of Islam is not easy. But it’s not impossible either, and it can be very rewarding. The key to making it so is to manage expectations; to focus on the Word, prayer, and relationships; and to hold tightly to God’s hand. When all is said and done, it is He who draws Muslim people to Himself.
Managing expectations means that we need to be people who are patient, realistic, and stead. Those counting on instant results, mass movements to Christ and dealing with the new and exciting every day need not apply. While those things sometimes happen, because God is sovereign and He delights to surprise us, that is not the history of most effective work among followers of Islam. One of the recent developments that has made this truth especially important to remember is the widely discussed phenomenon of “insider movements.” This kind of movement can produce some amazing transformations in communities and individuals when it is God-induced and happens naturally, but it can also do great harm when it is pushed as a long-term strategy by well-meaning but impatient cross-cultural workers who don’t understand the difference between their role and God’s.
The primary role is to keep the main thing the main thing – that means the Word, prayer and relationships. Cross-cultural workers among followers of Islam need to be spiritual people. So much of what Muslim peoples experience form the “Christian” world (e.g. sex, violence, etc) engenders a false understanding of what it means to be a Christian, and they desperately need to see the real thing. so a consistent and public Christian posture may be called for – somewhat more public than what one might naturally display in one’s own culture. But perhaps as essential as anything is to be a person who develops and cherishes genuine relationships with people. Among other things, this will require both a listening ear and a thoughtful inquisitiveness about their world and beliefs.
More than anything else, and often in tandem with the wonderful dreams and visions which God often gives to Muslim people regarding His Son, it is a deep friendship relationship with a committed Christian that God has so often used to bring Muslims to Himself.
Finally, it is essential to hold tightly to God’s hand. Simply let Him lead you each step of the way. If you are harbouring ill feelings toward Muslims, ask Him to change your attitude. Let Him guide you into a profession that reflects who He has made you to be, and let Him show you how that can open doors of influence with followers of Islam. It’s true of those gifted in medical fields, business, teaching, agriculture, engineering and almost any other career one could name – even theology. But it needs to be given over to the Lord for service in this great task.
- The Tough Work of Christians Reaching Muslims Around the World (blackchristiannews.com)