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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...




Islam in America

By Mark Hausfeld and Tommy Hodum
June 27, 2010

Across America, in gas stations, in malls, in restaurants, in the IT sector, in the medical field — in all vocations — we see Muslims every day. We identify them as such based upon their appearance. A veil-covered woman or long-bearded man typifies the stereotype. The names Fatima or Muhammad confirm what we already suspect. “Those are Muslims.”

Why are they here? Muslim immigration further thickens the American melting pot yearly, with more and more coming to find better jobs, freedom or education. Many, preceded by family members who have already established their livelihoods here, find the immigration process much simpler than others. Some seek refuge from hardship. Some seek opportunity. Some come out of necessity. Some simply desire change. The majority of American Muslims, one would find, are second and third generation — and most are assimilated.

Stereotypes can tempt many to attitudes of contempt and suspicion. Indeed, the extreme perspective of likening all Muslims to terrorists is not so out of the ordinary. More Americans think this way than most would publicly admit. In reality, most Muslims in the United States are simply our urban, suburban and rural neighbors.

Bias and prejudice, mostly unjustified, abound not only within our larger American society, but also within the American church.

Scripture, not emotion, should be our guide for reaching the estimated 6 million American Muslims for Christ. Assuredly, the leading of the Holy Spirit will affirm to us how we are to view and treat Muslims in America. The apostle Paul told the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers in Athens:

“From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:26,27, NIV).

God has seen to it that Muslims have been brought to America so that we, as His people, may touch their lives with the love of Christ and the truth inherent within the Word of God. We are to befriend and to help, to share and to relay biblical truth. We are to develop, to maintain and to nurture relationships with Muslim peoples.

Those involved in Pentecostal fellowships must recognize their responsibility to actively engage Muslim souls for harvest into the kingdom of God. This responsibility, by biblical command, is not limited to clergy. J. Dudley Woodberry, professor of Islamic studies, once conducted a survey of 700 former Muslim men and women — former Muslims who embraced Christ. Among other questions, Woodberry questioned their reasoning for coming to faith in Christ. The five most-cited reasons are as follows:

1. Observing the godly life of a follower of Christ
2. Receiving and reading a Bible given to them
3. Seeing signs, wonders, miracles and dreams
4. Understanding that God is a God of love
5. Being tired of violence witnessed in the name of Islam.

Note that the first two reasons — the two most important reasons given — involve direct interaction with a Christian. Let God convict us when we misuse or ignore potential opportunities to foster relationships with truth-seeking Muslims.

The response to the challenge and opportunity of evangelizing Muslims in America overall has undoubtedly been mixed. Douglas Peiffer, an academic, researched local churches and their involvement with Muslims. He concluded that:

• Believers did not know of opportunities where they could engage with Muslims.
• Believers did not know what to do or how to reach out to Muslims.
• Believers feared Muslims.
• Believers had no contact with Muslims.

The Assemblies of God has a strategic plan for engaging those of the Islamic faith. Global Initiative: Reaching Muslim Peoples, formerly the Center for Ministry to Muslims, is tasked with equipping the church to reach Muslims and to mobilize church planting teams among Muslim peoples. This new church plant initiative is a collaborative effort of Assemblies of God World Missions and Assemblies of God U.S. Missions. AGUSM today has 13 couples and one single missionary focused on ministry to Muslims in America.

Missionaries are reaching Muslims within the borders of our country, using television and radio programming to address the issues of sin, salvation and divine healing. As these media plant the seed of the gospel, these issues are reaching into Muslim homes and many individuals are coming to faith.

Muslims who accept Christ as Savior are responding to a believer who has built a caring, concerned and compassionate relationship with them. As such, through the power of the relationship, we all demonstrably have an opportunity to influence Muslims. Ministry to Muslims begins with addressing the needs of an individual Muslim.

Truly, much remains to be done. The challenge of reaching all Muslims in America is growing faster than our ministry resources. Prayer is needed. African-American Muslims in Chicago, Central African Muslims in Minneapolis, Arab Muslims in Dearborn, Mich., and South Asian Muslims in Dallas are eager for truth. This, at the very least, provides us with an unending opportunity for prayer. Believers must fill the integral role of participating as intercessors for Muslims.

We encourage believers to join Jumaa Prayer Fellowship (JumaaPrayer.org). This vital and effective prayer ministry, facilitated by the bimonthly prayer bulletin Intercede, allows believers to link arms of faith with thousands of intercessors on behalf of Muslims around the world. Prayer will remove any pervasive fear of Muslims and replace it with a faith that Muslims will come to salvation. We must follow the biblical admonition to lift up our eyes and look upon the fields that are ripe for harvest (John 4:35).

The “lack of knowledge of opportunities to engage Muslims” can be countered with simple obedience on the part of the evangelical community. AGUSM is in the process of identifying locations in the United States where church planting teams will purposefully engage Muslims. Are you called to be one of those team members?

The Church must be equipped for the witness to and long-term discipleship of Muslims. It is the responsibility of every Christian to become familiarized and informed concerning the issue of Islam in America. We must understand Muslims and reach out to them with the love of God. GlobalInitiativeInfo.com offers downloadable material to help in this pursuit. The availability of these materials, along with ministerial training Global Initiative offers, means that Christians no longer have an excuse to avoid ministry. “I did not know what to do or how to reach out to Muslims,” is no longer valid.

We have, as in Luke 14:28, calculated the cost and know what is necessary to complete the task. Intercessors, informed believers, church planters and financial partners are needed as we strategically plant churches among Muslims in America. Our praying, learning, giving and going demonstrate true exemplification of missions. Missions is the answer to Islam in America.


MARK HAUSFELD is director of Global Initiative. TOMMY HODUM is the U.S. representative at Global Initiative.

Email your comments to pe@ag.org.