Missions Catalyst

Subscribe to Missions Catalyst feed
Updated: 1 hour 20 min ago

What Do You Want to Hear from the People You Donate to?

Super Short Summer Survey #1

By Shane Bennett

The next three Practical Mobilization columns will be devoted to mining the collective brilliance of the Missions Catalyst tribe. Thank you in advance for taking a few minutes from your elongated days (or nights, friends in the southern hemisphere!) to share your thoughts. They matter.

Somewhere high on a long list of kindnesses God has extended me is the strong sense that there is much, very much, that I don’t know. Like how to manage money, for instance. This has never been natural or easy for me.

Recently, in an additional kindness, God connected me with a financial coach. (If you could use a financial coach, shoot me an email and I’ll connect you to my guy.) He is wise and Jesus-y, and he makes me do hard stuff. He says hard stuff like, “Shane, I want you to call every single one of your donors once a year.” Ack! That works about to three a week. So far, I’m batting about .800 for the month since he gave the assignment.

This has me thinking, though. How many of my donors really want to talk to me on the phone? If you call me, you’d better be bleeding out your eyes or offering me a speaking gig! But Brian asserts this is a component of my ministry. Calling donors, asking how I can pray for them and actually doing so while on the call will bless people. (He also says it will help my support!) So I submit.

But I also wonder. What types of communication, and at what intervals, do donors really want? Personally, I’d like to hear more from the friend to whom I give a small monthly gift. At the same time, I have a dear analog-only donor who’s given monthly to my work for decades with, sadly, almost no information from me.

You probably donate money to support-based workers. You may also live on the gifts of others who give to you. Would you help all of us by taking two minutes to fill out this brief survey? The insights and experiences of our Practical Mob tribe will be helpful to many.

Thank you to the kind folks at Pioneers, Support Raising Solutions and Stewardship Ambassadors for their input on this survey.

One respondent will be chosen at random to receive a US$25 Amazon gift certificate, so answer away.

Hospitality in West Africa | World News Briefs

In this edition:

  1. WEST AFRICA: Showing Hospitality
  2. IRAN: Christians Summoned to Explain Conversion from Islam
  3. EAST AFRICA: Proverbs 31 in Afar
  4. INDIA: Why Modi’s Second Term Means Trouble for Christians
  5. SAUDI ARABIA: Mohammed’s Search for Jesus

Nigeria photo: Mark Fischer, Flikr/Creative Commons, via 30 days of Prayer.

WEST AFRICA: Showing Hospitality on Eid

Source: 30 Days of Prayer, June 4, 2019

Gathered on the floor, around a tray full of lamb, dates with cream, vegetables, and bread, sat an array of unlikely people. We had all come together for celebration of divine Love revealed.

The guests were a mix of local people—only some of whom knew the Love being celebrated on this day. Three different languages were used around the table as everyone was welcomed.

The host explained, “Because this feast of Eid is so important to us we wanted you, our friends, to join us in the festivities.” He went on to share the story that gives the “Love with Us” celebration its significance. He shared how even though we slaughter a lamb for our feast, we no longer need to, because Love became the Lamb, restoring what was broken.

“We decided to celebrate this year,” he continued, “by telling each other how this great Love has personally changed our lives.” After sharing our stories, the meal was enthusiastically eaten with games following. Before leaving, everyone received the gift of a flashlight with words, spoken by Love Himself, attached, “I am the light of the world. He that follows me will not walk in darkness but have the light of life.”

After this event, the host was told by one of the guests, “You know, we grow up hearing that people like you are horrible, but we have never had the chance to hear a little about what you believe right from your mouth. The time at your house was a really good opportunity for us.”

» Read full story with pictures and prayer points. As we’ve reached the end of Ramadan, pray that around the world Christians and Muslims would share meals and lives together, and that both would come to know Jesus more deeply.

»  See also an interesting article from OMF, How the Loneliness Epidemic Should Affect the Way We Do Missions.

IRAN: Christians Summoned to Explain Conversion from Islam

Source: Christian Today, May 7, 2019

Iran’s intelligence minister, Mahmoud Mahmoud Alavi, openly expressed concern about the spread of Christianity in the Islamic republic and said that some converts to Christianity were summoned to explain why they have converted.

According to the International Shia News Association, Alavi blamed evangelical propaganda for the increase in Iranian Muslims converting to Christianity in certain areas of the country.

Despite Christianity being criminalized in a country where the government is entangled with hardline Islam, the nation is experiencing one of the fastest evolving underground church movements in the world.

The intelligence minister reportedly said that although the agency is not responsible for finding the root cause of the mass religious conversion to Christianity in Iran, it is “happening right before our eyes.”

Underground house churches continue to spring up across Iran, although they must do so in secrecy because they risk torture and imprisonment in the Islamic republic.

Believers can be arrested for preaching the gospel or having a copy of the Bible translated into Farsi.

Although it’s hard to get an accurate read on how many Christians are in Iran, estimates have ranged from 800,000 to over 1 million.

» Read full story.

» See also Worth A Thousand Years of Waiting: The Staggering Rise of the Church in Iran (Desiring God), which suggests four reasons for the growth and three ways to pray.

» In other religious liberty news, Iran’s neighbor Turkmenistan continues to tightly control the practice of Islam. Muslims are afraid to fast during Ramadan, attend mosques, or grow beards, lest they be labelled extremists (Forum 18 News Service). Forum 18 also reports that in Russia, at least 56 organizations and 103 individuals faced prosecution in 2018 under new anti-missionary legislation.

EAST AFRICA: Proverbs 31 in Afar

Source: Mobile Ministry Forum, May 15, 2019

Five years ago, I grew impassioned for the idea that a media strategy could be used to reach nomads in East Africa. Time and again, I ran into people [who] pushed back, saying: “Oh, they don’t use media,” “They are in the bush,” and “There is no wifi.” Then they were willing to say, “You can try it, but it needs to be high quality.” Their request would have meant thousands of dollars and long production delays.

Finally, they allowed me to just use my phone for creating a simple video showing local women at work with a recording of Proverbs 31. Then we advertised the video only in areas where these nomads were predominant. 10,000 people have watched the video so far, and 200 have asked us for more videos from God’s Word.

When I took these results to locals and my leadership, they said, “We could never have believed that 10,000 Afar would hear God’s truth all for US$20 and a little time investment.” Now I have the blessing of leaders to move forward on using mobile engagement in digital ministry as broadly as possible.

Mobile ministry can be effective as we are released to try it.

» Read full story. Check out the Mobile Ministry Forum website for more stories, training, and other resources.

» Also read about Sanusi and his tribe of desert nomads who have nobody bringing them the gospel. Includes ways to pray for the nomads of the Muslim world (Frontiers USA).

INDIA: Why Modi’s Second Term Means Trouble for Christians

Source: Mission Network News, May 27, 2019

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist group, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), won [last month’s national election] by a landslide—guaranteeing five more years of power.

“My friends in the business community [find] it to be a good thing because they see it as a political stability… they don’t expect any major changes. But, I’ll tell you from the Christian community, it is really not a good thing,” [says Bible for the World’s John Pudaite].

“We have seen the escalation of persecution… during the last five years that this current party has led the government. Christians across the country are bracing themselves for another five years of the same, and many are expecting it to get worse.”

Last fall, Hindu nationalists rallied around the goal of making India a “Hindu Rashtra” (Hindu nation) by 2024. Modi and the BJP support the concept, making no secret of their “Hindu first” agenda.

» Full story explores what Hindu nationalism means for Christians and suggests ways to pray for India.

» Another article from MNN reports that Indonesia’s national election has exposed a rift.

SAUDI ARABIA: Mohammed’s Search for Jesus

Source: Open Doors USA, June 3, 2019

After having increasing doubts about Islam—the religion he had known all his life in Saudi Arabia—Mohammed began looking for truth online. What he found changed his heart and life as he knew it forever.

“For many years, I had doubts when reading the Quran,” Mohammed shares. “For example, the fact that Allah and Mohammed are considered to be equal. How could Mohammed, a sinful man, be equal to God?”

There were more inconsistencies. Gradually, Mohammed decided to put his Muslim faith to the test. All his life, he had been taught that missing even one of the five daily prayers would cause a Muslim immediate misfortune. Something bad would most definitely happen if you ceased praying.

“So, I decided to stop praying for just one day and see what happened,” Mohammed says. “Nothing bad happened. On the contrary, I had an amazingly successful business day.”

Mohammed’s doubt continued to mount. He began to look on the internet to learn about other religions. Soon, he learned that the message of the Bible is easy to translate and understand in every culture.

The love of God that he saw in the scriptures he read stuck with him. He continued his search online, even downloading an app on his smartphone. Through it, he learned about the basic foundations of Christianity. Mohammed felt more and more eager to meet Christians, visit a church, and own a Bible.

He traveled to two different countries in the Middle East where Christians are openly allowed to visit a church and obtain a Bible. However, these “open” churches are usually not allowed to minister to Muslims, only to Christians from families that have been believers for centuries. Mohammed wasn’t allowed to step foot in either church. He walked away, dejected and empty-handed.

» Keep reading.

»  Also read Salek’s story, The Narrow Escape (Frontiers USA).

BOOKS: Global Lit for Kids

Give Your Child the World—Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time, by Jamie C. Martin. Zondervan, 2016. 224 pages.

Where I live, school’s almost out. I wonder how many moms and dads are starting to panic about inspiring their kids toward wholesome summer pursuits?

If that’s you—or if your kids just love good books— consider picking up Give Your Child the World. This reference guide to more than 600 books includes reading lists organized by region, country, and age range (4-12) along with helpful indexes. The author, a former missionary, home schools her multicultural family, and has written several books and blogs.

  • Each listing includes a brief description of the book, its themes, and content Christian parents might want to know about.
  • Most of the books are fiction but some nonfiction is included as well.
  • Few of these volumes are actually written by authors from the country or culture they describe; you will have to dig deeper for that. On the other hand, American readers may be able to get many of these with just a library card. In fact, I found this book itself through my local library.
  • Introductory material and sidebars throughout include other tips on raising globally minded kids.

» Learn more or purchase from Amazon (or elsewhere) at US$10.98 for the paperback edition and US$6.99 for Kindle. Looks like used copies are also readily available.

» You might also be interested in Becoming a World-Changing Family by Donna Thomas or The Mission-Minded Family and The Mission-Minded Child by Ann Dunagan.

MAGAZINE: Lausanne Global Analysis

Source: Lausanne Movement, May 2019

This month’s edition of the Lausanne Global Analysis includes articles you can sink your teeth into. Each is written by a subject-matter expert.

  • The Rise of Hindu Fundamentalism: Implications for India and Global Mission
  • The New Normal for Christianity in China: Adapting to a Tighter Political Environment
  • Do We Care about Corruption? How Integrity Can Tame the Beast of Bribes and Extortion
  • Creating and Sharing Wealth: Embracing our Mission of Holistic Transformation.

» Read the articles or subscribe. Prefer to listen? Check out the audio versions and follow Lausanne on Soundcloud.

» For thoughtful article on the mobilization side, see Life Stages and Missions (Catalyst Services). It walks us through challenges and opportunities of involving people in their twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, and sixties in mission efforts.

FILM: The Kingdom

Source: GemStone Media

Friends have produced a high-quality 82-minute “prodigal son” dramatic film set in the vineyards of Kosovo and beaches of Montenegro. In the aftermath of the human rights tragedies that Kosovo endured between 1998 and 2001, this family story offers a shining example of steadfast love that restores trust and instills hope for a better life.

The Kingdom is now available in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Dutch, Greek, Farsi, and Bulgarian, along with the original Albanian. More languages in the works include Russian and Romanian.

» Visit the film’s website to learn more and stream or download the film, trailer, promotional material, and a discussion guide from the movie website. All of this is free for you to use as a ministry resource. You might also be interested in The Traveler, another film from the same group and set in Central Asia. Watch the trailer.

» In January we wrote about a film telling the story of murdered Australian missionary Graham Staines. The Least of These is now available on DVD and digital download, and might be a good choice to watch and discuss with your church or small group.

STUDY GUIDES: Making the Journey to Global Missions

Sources: Various

We’ve written about full-on classes like Perspectives, Pathways, and the Kairos Course, as well Bible studies like God’s Heart for the Nations (by Jeff Lewis), Missions: God’s Heart for the World (by Paul Borthwick), and Xplore, and missionary training books like Mission Smart (David L. Frazier) and Cross-Cultural Servanthood (Duane Elmer). Each has its uses, emphases, and limitations.

Now we want to let you know about a couple of helpful and fairly new small group studies on missions that almost slipped past us.

Journey to the Nations: A Greater Vision for Your Greatest Mission, by Mark Sigmon. Credo House Publishers, 2017. 40 pages.

  • This workbook offers six 45-minute sessions you can do on your own or with a group, with ideas for several additional sessions.
  • It’s mostly a Bible study but pulls in other material as well.
  • I like that it’s designed for senders and goers alike and highlights but doesn’t exclusively focus on the priority of the unreached.
  • There’s a video element, but the lessons aren’t built around the videos (which come from a variety of sources; YouTube links provided).
  • Although a few of the suggestions feel dated, the study is solid overall. It’s enough to lay a good foundation without overwhelming and it provides next steps for those who want to learn or do more.

» You can get it on Amazon for US$11.99, or from Global Impact Services, the author’s ministry. Bulk discounts available.

The Path Series

Discovering Global Missions: Explore God’s Heart for the Nations, by Dave Guiles. Encompass World Publishing, 2017. 60 pages.

  • Four chapters can be used for four sessions to do on your own or with a small group.
  • With Matthew 28:18-20 as a starting point, the study covers the need to make disciples, the command to go to all nations, and how you can get involved.
  • This booklet is not designed as a workbook; it has discussion questions but not much white space. All the scriptures are printed in the text. This gives it a more contemporary, professional look but may be overwhelming.
  • Sessions are, in part, built around a series of videos from Global Frontier Missions. Anyone is free to use these whiteboard teaching videos; they seem to be very popular.
  • Considering using this study? You can sign up to get a free copy.

Discerning Your Calling: Discover Your Place as a Global Worker, by John Ward. Encompass World Publishing, 2018. 70 pages.

  • The booklet has six chapters plus an introduction and conclusion.
  • The content covers questions of calling, setting direction, building a relationship with your church, finding an agency, and overcoming obstacles.
  • Each chapter includes a story about someone else’s journey.
  • Each chapter also includes questions and scriptures to consider for going deeper. You could go through this with a group; it might work just as well one-on-one with a mentor.

Although these materials includes a few references to the mission agency that published them, Encompass World Partners, I didn’t pick up on anything that would keep the rest of us from being able to use them.

The series also include a volume about setting up a mobilization team in your church. I haven’t seen that one. You can request a sample chapter from the publisher.

» Learn more about or purchase materials in the Path Series.

EVENTS: Coming up in June

Source: Missions Catalyst Events Calendar

June 1-2, World Weekend of Prayer for Children at Risk (international). Coordinated by the Viva Network.

June 3-5, Enlace Global 2019 (Rockville, VA, USA). Lidera a tu iglesia para llegar a las naciones. Provided by Movilización Hispana.

June 3-29, COMPASS (Palmer Lake, CO, USA). Language and culture acquisition provided by Mission Training International.

June 3 to August 11, Perspectives on the World Christian Movement (online). Intensive version; regular course June 3 to October 6.

June 6-8, Emerge Business Summit (Colorado Springs, CO, USA). Be affirmed, confirmed, and empowered to do missional business in nations.

June 9, International Day for the Unreached (global). An annual event.

June 13-14, Support Raising Bootcamp (Wheaton, IL, USA). Provided by Support Raising Solutions.

June 16-28, Second Language Acquisition Course (Union Mills, NC, USA). Provided by the Center for Intercultural Training.

June 19-20, Standards Introductory Workshop (Vienna, VA, USA). Training in the Standards of Excellence in Short-Term Mission.

June 19-22, Field Security Seminar (Lake George, CO, USA). Prepare to live, work, and travel in high-risk environments.

June 19-29, Breathe Conference (Wilderswil, Switzerland). Rest and renewal retreat for cross-cultural workers.

June 20, World Refugee Day (international). Many churches observe this with prayer the Sunday before or after.

June 20-22, The National African American Mission Conference (Vienna, VA, USA). An annual event.

June 25-26, Amplify Conference (Wheaton, IL, USA). Evangelism conference from the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College.

June 26-29, International Conference on Computing and Missions (Hannibal, MO, USA).

» View the complete calendar. Contact us to suggest additions. Want to know more about a specific event? Contact the event organizers.

Movement in India Continues to Thrive and Grow

“Seeing a house church in India is like getting a front-row view to the book of Acts.”

God is using simple house churches to make himself known in unreached parts of India… and the world. See related story below (Asian Partners International).

  1. INDIA: Bhojpuri Movement Continues to Thrive
  2. ALGERIA: God Opens a Window
  3. BURKINA FASO: Pastor and Five Others Shot after Church Service
  4. MOZAMBIQUE: 40 Muslims Come to Christ
  5. TANZANIA: Losing Everything for Christ

 

INDIA: Bhojpuri Movement Continues to Thrive

Source: Mission Frontiers, May 2019

Editor’s note: The following is excepted from an interview with Indian mission leader Victor John and describes a church-planting movement among the 90 million Bhojpuri of North India.

The movement started in 1998. I had begun focusing on work among the Bhojpuri since 1992 and in 1994 we began the ministry in earnest. We held the first Bhojpuri consultation, began a systematic survey for all the Bhojpuri districts, and made a decision to focus on obedience-based discipleship. We didn’t start with a blueprint for how the ministry would unfold; everything has been evolving through the years.

The real breakthrough with significant numbers happened when we released the first edition of the Bhojpuri New Testament in 1998. After that the movement began growing exponentially. It wasn’t a huge movement at that time. Things were happening in various places, but we had no idea of the big picture of what the Lord was doing.

In 2000 an audit was done by the International Mission Board (IMB), and they pointed out that exponential growth was taking place. The tipping point had been in 1998, when things just shot up. We only had 800 pastors at that time, and all of their ministries had grown within the previous two or three years. The IMB’s audit showed the rapid growth curve and it hasn’t stopped since then. Additional audits have been done by other groups in subsequent years, showing the endurance and growth of the movement.

I just met yesterday with 35 or 40 leaders who shared amazing stories. We were counting the generations of believers and churches and it’s over 100 generations! Every generation of believers starts a new church. We don’t count the number of believers (how many people got saved). We count the number of churches started.

» Read the rest of this interview. Readers may want to check out the rest of this edition of Mission Frontiers, focused on India: The Greatest Challenge to World Evangelism.

» For more of the story, get the new book Bhojpuri Breakthrough: A Movement that Keeps Multiplying, by Victor John with Dave Coles. The paperback edition $US15 from WIGTake Resources if you order before the end of May. An US$9.99 Kindle edition should be available soon. See excerpts: Bhojpuri Movement Transforming Social Dynamics (Mission Frontiers) and Bhojpuri Girl Raised from the Dead (Beyond).

ALGERIA: God Opens a Window

Source: Create International, April 2019

Years ago, the Lord led Create International to do two films for Algerian Arabs, a very unreached people group. Later while attending a mission conference in Malta we met up with our friend who played a significant role in one of these films. He told us how God is using this film in miraculous ways and how the Lord has given him a new ministry as a result.

» Listen to the story (18-minute interview). This is the first in a series of podcast episodes from Africa. You might also want to check out other resources and opportunities from Create International, a ministry of Youth with a Mission.

BURKINA FASO: Pastor and Five Others Shot after Church Service

Source: Open Doors, May 7, 2019

[It] seemed like any Sunday for 80-year-old [Assemblies of God] Pastor Pierre Ouédraogo, who has spent 40 years serving his church and village community in the northeastern Soum province of Burkina Faso. On April 28, he gathered for worship with his congregation. And like every Sunday, he preached the Word of God with the wisdom that seasoned years of life and ministry bring.

But shortly after the service, an ordinary Sunday suddenly turned deadly and a church building where worshipers had just gathered became a crime scene.

Pastor Pierre was still talking with several congregants in the churchyard [when] a dozen men on motorbikes stormed the area.

A local leader who wished to remain anonymous told World Watch Monitor, “The assailants asked the Christians to convert to Islam, but the pastor and the others refused.”

Reportedly, the attackers gathered Pastor Pierre and the five other congregants under a tree and then confiscated their Bibles and cell phones.

“Then they called them, one after the other, behind the church building where they shot them dead,” the leader said.

He and his five congregants [one his son] were buried the same day in a ceremony that drew people from both Christian and Muslim communities. The pastor leaves behind his wife and six other children.

The community leader said that when he and others advised the pastor to leave the area, he refused, saying he “would rather die for his faith than leave the community he has been serving for 40 years.”

» Read full story or the related story from World Watch Monitor (with background on the spike in violence in this region). See also a report on this attack from the BBC, as well as one about another attack on a Catholic church this past Sunday (May 12). Let’s pray for Burkina Faso.

MOZAMBIQUE: 40 Muslims Come to Christ

Source: FEBC Radio, April 23, 2019

This month, FEBC’s South Africa team hosted a live broadcast in a village in Mozambique that is 97% Muslim. After listening to FEBC’s broadcasts for months, the villagers invited staff to come and share the gospel with them. After hearing, 40 people gave their lives to the Lord for the very first time.

Two new listener clubs, each comprised of 20 people, were formed as a result of so many villagers hearing the gospel. Villagers said they will strive towards establishing more listener clubs and will study the Word of God until they know it very well.

Praise the Lord for this incredible harvest of new believers in Mozambique!

» Read full story.

TANZANIA: Losing Everything for Christ

Source: Operation Mobilization, May 9, 2019

Yaro was an Islamic teacher who was very well versed in the Qur’an. Over time he found himself drawn to Jesus over Mohammed and wondered: Why are we not teaching about Jesus in the mosque if the Qur’an mentions him so much and with so much virtue? When he went to his leaders, they told him not to ask such questions.

One teacher did answer him, however. He said: “This is a secret; if we started to teach about Jesus in our mosques then we might as well open churches.” That comment stayed with Yaro, and when he heard the gospel, he committed his life to Jesus.

When word of Yaro coming to faith reached the other Islamic leaders and teachers, they confronted Yaro, beating and interrogating him. Despite the pain, Yaro stood by his decision to follow Christ and would not deny his new faith.

Because Yaro was an Islamic teacher, everything he owned had been provided by the mosque. By deciding to follow Christ, Yaro lost a stable income as well as his home and everything in it.

During this hard time Saida, Yaro’s wife, decided that if her husband was a follower of Jesus, she needed to be one as well and gave her life to Christ. Together with their two children they were stranded, without a home or food and with just the clothes on their back. Family and friends turned them away, saying that as long as Yaro and Saida were Christians, they could not help them.

» Full story shares how OM came alongside this couple, who continue to grow and share their faith.

» Readers might also be interested in the testimony of a pastor from Ethiopia, once part of a child-sponsorship program, who shares how God intervened in his life and transformed him (Compassion International).

Compassionate Connection

13 Ways Normal Christians Can Show Care for Muslims during Ramadan

By Shane Bennett

Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, has begun.

From May sixth until the moon gets full and goes away again, practicing Muslims avoid food, drink, smoking, and sex during daylight hours. Discipline, celebration, devotion, and spirituality characterize this month for nearly 25% of the world’s population.

It’s also a great time for people like us to reach out in care to connect with our Muslim neighbors, friends, co-workers, and family. Here are thirteen ways to do that. You can likely think of more.

Were you that kid who always got straight A’s? You’ll probably do them all and feel guilty for not thinking of more. Otherwise, just join me in picking one or two. Aim to be a blessing and give out some of the wonderful gifts Jesus has given you.

Practical Prayer

We are blessed to live in a day when resources and opportunities to pray for Muslims during Ramadan are proliferating. I suspect God is pleased with even a simple, “Bless those Muslims,” but none of us, no matter how isolated, have to settle for that. Check out these:

1. Join 30 Days of Prayer.

The 30-days high-quality, insightful booklet has been guiding prayer for Muslims since 1993. As beautiful as the print versions are, it’s probably a bit late to order them now. Instead, grab copies of the pdf for adults and kids.

2. Ask a Muslim friend how you might pray for them.

While writing this column, I’m messaging with a North African bud in England. I started with this: “Happy Ramadan! I would love to pray for you during this month. Can you share with me what you’d like me to ask God for?” His response opened an amazing conversation that’s still going on and involved me sharing a ham-fisted but good-hearted treatise on what Jesus is really up to.

3. Dial in on a particular group.

Go to joshuaproject.net and pick a group from this list to pray for until Ramadan ends. I picked the Ansari. If you want, you can join me in praying for the good kingdom of God to come to this people group in wonderful ways this month. I’m pretty high tech, so I wrote “Ansari” on a Post-it Note and stuck it on my bathroom mirror.

4. Follow a one-page Ramadan prayer outline.

Check out this free, simple, super-short Ramadan prayer guide that can be freely copied to share with your home group or church.

5. Sign up for the Crescent Project Ramadan Prayer focus.

Join thousands of others who will pray each Friday during Ramadan. Sign up here and Crescent Project will email you a reminder and specific prayer points each Thursday.

6. Watch the Prayercast videos.

The rock stars at Prayercast are releasing a high-quality prayer-facilitating video each day during Ramadan. Sign up for daily reminders. I’m planning to show this one at my church on Sunday. It’s very moving.

7. Focus on the Night of Power.

Consider gathering a few friends at church or in a home on the Night of Power toward the end of Ramadan. As Muslims around the world seek forgiveness and their destiny for the coming year, ask God that the abundant life of Jesus would be poured out on them.

Moving Past Prayer

Keep praying! If you’d also like to put feet to your prayers this Ramadan, here are some ideas that will get you in increasing connection with Muslims.

8. Try a Friday fast.

Some Christians choose to show solidarity with Muslims by following most or all the decrees of Ramadan. Trusting they’re obeying God in this, more power to them. May their example move the hearts of many. I’m planning on chucking one meal a week. (I’m pretty spiritual that way!) Would you join me in skipping lunch on the Fridays of Ramadan? If you’re in, shoot me an email and we can pray for each other (as well as for Muslims). Thank you.

9. Post a greeting on Facebook.

Direct this greeting to your Muslim friends. If you don’t have any, simply say, “As a Christian, I’d like to wish Muslims everywhere a blessed Ramadan. May God fill you with joy, keep you safe, and answer your prayers for forgiveness and new life.” Here and here are two examples from a couple of friends I respect a great deal.

10. Ask a question.

We honor someone when we ask about her experience and opinions. Aim for easy-answer, low-offense questions like, “Can you tell me what your family does for Ramadan?” or go deeper with, “I’d love to hear what Ramadan means to you.”

11. Go to an iftar.

The fast-breaking meal each evening during Ramadan is called iftar and is a wonderful time to connect and celebrate with local Muslims. Google “Islamic center” and your town, then call or email to see if a visit is possible. Since you’re the one reading, you’re the designated group leader! Thanks for stepping up and gathering a small cadre to go with you.

12. Hand out welcome cards.

Ramadan is a great time to pass out cards to Muslim newcomers, letting them know you’re glad they’re here. Check out welcome cards here and maybe grab some for yourself and your church.

13. Plan to give a gift at Eid.

Eid al Fitr is the celebration at the end of Ramadan. Families get together for food and fun. In some situations, gifts are a part of the festivities. A simple gift of chocolates, flowers, or a plant would likely be received as a kind and thoughtful blessing. Eid will happen on or around June 3rd of this year. If you want to sound like the cool kids, learn to say, “Eid Mubarak!” That basically means “Happy Eid.”

Conclusion

Okay, so you have a life and probably would have plenty to keep you busy even if it weren’t Ramadan. Fair enough. God is certainly not asking any of us to do all these things. In fact, he may not ask you to do any of them. We are people of grace, not works, after all.

If, however, you do take up any of these suggestions, particularly the more public ones, you will join a growing group of Christians who want to act like Jesus toward Muslims. Together we will reaffirm that Christians do not hate Muslims, but on the contrary, though falteringly and sometimes hesitantly, we love them. And we want for them, as for ourselves, every bit of the forgiveness, hope, and abundant life Jesus came to bring.

» Thoughts? You can respond to this article on Facebook, Twitter, or our website. Just hit reply to reach us directly.

Pages