Source: SBC International Mission Board, September 14, 2017
“There is no church here. There are no Christians, and,” he added, “there never will be.” His tenor and words stung. They exposed at once the great need of our city of 450,000, as well as the seemingly impossible task. But what this grizzled Muslim man, a stranger to me, didn’t know was that already there were five Muslim-background Christians meeting in my nearby home.
Today, four years later, the fledgling church in that city has disbanded. All missionaries have been forced to leave. The dozen or so local believers who once gathered have mostly moved on. Those who remain live either in isolation or secrecy. Others have fallen away. And I’m left to wonder if perhaps there was something the old man knew that I didn’t. That maybe his city is unreachable. That maybe church planting is impossible.
Without a doubt, missionaries in the Muslim world face an incredible assignment. Usually we think first of the danger or the obvious antagonism to Christianity. While such challenges are real, I can honestly say they may be the least of our worries when we seek to establish a church where there is none.
In some ways it’s easy to be an evangelist in the Muslim world. I’ve found the people friendly and hospitable. Many are overtly religious, relational, and even appreciate lively conversation about religion, God, and Jesus—more so than most Christians I know.
The challenge is this: how do you gather those who do believe?
» Read full story. Readers might also appreciate, from the same source, an article for mission workers on expectations vs. expectancy for mission workers and one for pastors on preaching the biblical basis for missions.