Brother Silas, a missionary with the Londin City Mission has spent the last 30 years sharing Jesus with people from Muslim communities, both in the United Kingdom and the Middle East. Here are his top tips for beginning gospel conversations with Muslims.
- See the opportunity
Instead of feeling uncomfortable about the presence of Muslims near us, we need to see it as a massive opportunity. For centuries, preaching the gospel in Islamic countries has been extremely difficult and dangerous. But Muslims have now come to us, and we can preach the gospel to them without fear of arrest!
- See the opportunity for you
Think about where you see Muslims. If you’re in a city, is your shopkeeper, taxi driver or neighbour Muslim? If you’re in the country, maybe the kebab shop is run by Muslims or there are Muslim families in your area on a day trip?
- Seize the opportunity
Start a conversation with someone you think might be a Muslim by asking questions like: ‘Have you always lived in the UK?’ ‘Where else have you lived?’ ‘Do you have a religion?’ ‘Which one?’ ‘When did you become a Muslim?’ ‘What’s the number one thing that convinces you that Islam is true?’ ‘What’s the number one thing that convinces you that Christianity isn’t true?’
- If you feel that such questions are overly direct and imposing, remember two things:a) Most Muslims are happy to talk about ‘religion’. Unlike most Britons, it’s something they do all the time – so they’re actually the easiest people to talk to about God and faith!
b) Most Muslims are confident and passionate about their beliefs, so they might interpret your reticence to talking about your faith as a lack of confidence and passion!
- Make the most of the opportunity
Here are a few ways to keep the conversation going:
‘I was born Muslim’ – ‘Oh that’s very different! You see there is no such thing as someone being born a Christian because Jesus said that ‘No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.’ Do you know what that means?’
‘Islam teaches that there is only 1 God’ – ‘But Christians also believe in one God, so doesn’t that mean that you have as much reason to be a Christian as a Muslim?’
‘Christianity teaches that Jesus is the Son of God rather than a messenger’ – ‘Haven’t you read how Jesus claimed to be God?’ Open up the Bible to show them such a claim, and ask them what they think.
- Create further opportunities
If, for example, the Muslim person asks you a question and you get stuck, say, ‘I don’t know the answer to that. Can I have your mobile number, so when I find the answer, we can meet up and I can explain it to you?
Brother Silas’ guide to common Muslim views
In my conversations with Muslim friends and contacts, I often hear these comparisons being made between British society and Islamic culture. But not all Muslims see things this way!
|Islamic Culture||British Society|
|People oriented||Task oriented|
|Family is primary||Family is secondary|
|Relaxed about time||Obsessive about time|
|Morally conservative||No moral values|
In my conversations with Muslims about religion, they often view Islam in a more positive light than Christianity. Here’s what some say they see, even though they might not be correct!
|Growing in numbers fast||Declining in numbers fast|
|High moral standards||Low moral standards|
|Pray five times a day||Pray once a week|
|Worship one God||Worship three Gods|
|Have beliefs that easily make sense||Have beliefs that make no sense|
|All ages believe and worship||Many old people believe and worship|
|Confident and assertive about their beliefs||Uncertain and timid about their beliefs|
|Passionate about their beliefs||Apathetic about their beliefs|
|Some have their book memorised||None of them have their book memorised|
|No/few muslims becoming Christians||Lots of Christians becoming Muslims.|
Bearing in mind these perceptions may help us share our faith in a more relevant way and maybe even learn from each other!
To learn more, download our free guide, 10 Things to Remember When Speaking to Muslims: https://www.lcm.org.uk/media/upload/2017/12/11/lcm-10-things-to-share-with-muslims.pdf. Here are some good books to help you get started: Dear Abdullah by Rob Scott (published by IVP) Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, by Nabeel Qureshi (published by Zondervan).
This article first appeared in Changing London, the magazine of London and its city mission in Spring 2018. It has been reprinted with permission.
Next in this series: Sharing Jesus with your Sikh neighbour »