Saturday, February 22, 2014

Church Exposure

"They joined with the other believers and devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, sharing in the Lord’s Supper and in prayer."  Acts 2:42

Frequently I ask my Muslim friends what they did on the weekend. Then they ask me what I did. “On Sunday I went to my church,” I share. It proves to be an excellent way to start a conversation about what happened in church on any given Sunday.
“Our pastor will be speaking about the prophet Ibrahim for a few Sundays in church,” I explained to Farid and Amal who come from Iraq. “This past Sunday he spoke about the Tower(burj) of Babel,” I added. “Have you ever been to the place in Iraq where the Tower of Babel was built?” I asked them. It piqued their interest so they got their laptop to show me pictures of Babel which is close to Baghdad. We had a very interesting conversation about the whole story.  Afterwards Farid remarked, “Nimrood is the cause of all our problems!” We talked a long time about different prophets. They were surprised that we knew their Arabic names.
We had just gone to a two day city-wide missions conference and the topic of human trafficking and justice issues were fresh in our minds. We asked Habib and Jamila if they thought a prostitute was a criminal or a victim?  It led into a most interesting discussion about how the Church is responding to the complex issue. We also talked about the issue of abortion because there were pro-life advocacy exhibits at the conference.

Sometimes there are baptisms on Sundays when we have heard a transforming testimony of a person who was involved in drug addiction but the power of Jesus set him free. Or perhaps it was a Muslim who decided to follow Jesus as Savior. Since our Muslim friends have not witnessed a baptism and don’t have any desire to go to church we share with them what a baptism is all about.

Occasionally we attend a multi-cultural prayer meeting on Saturday mornings. I tell them, “Well, on Saturday I went to a prayer time at a church.” There is no end to the things I can bring up which were prayed about:  persecution of Christians in Islamic lands, praying for sick people, or about someone being healed, etc.

All of this is done intentionally and comes about naturally. Messages can naturally be talked about, testimonies shared, teaching explained about baptism or communion, fellowship meals enjoyed, justice issues brought up, meeting someone from their country, etc.  Sometimes there has been a funeral at church and I describe that person’s life and how God used him or her or how they suffered courageously. Death, heaven, and hell can be addressed naturally.  There are weddings which take place on weekends and opportunities to describe Christian marriage are taken advantage of.

If you haven’t talked about what happened in your church on Sunday you might want to try it. These are not preaching times but exposure times. At the same time you can ask them what exactly happened this week in their home or university Qur’an study group or at Friday prayers at the mosque. Let them see the differences. Give them an inside look.

Dear heavenly Father, thank You for the testimony of Church. In Jesus’ name, Amen.