Reaching Islam

by Jeff Tunnell

This week I am appreciating Author Dr. Nabeel T. Jabbour and his book, “The Crescent through the Eyes of the Cross”, insights from an Arab Christian.  Born in Syria and raised in Lebanon, he then lived with his family in Egypt for 15 years.  His Doctorate is in Islamics and he presently works for the Navigators in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA.

I enjoyed Dr. Jabbour’s explanations and insights on the different types of Muslims, their views of Christianity, and successful ways to reach out to them with the Gospel.  My surprise came in part three of the book when he explained his view of ecclesiology, faith and culture.  Here in chapter 15 was a simple diagram of two churches: one a traditional building, the other a network of relationships.  He went on to discuss that the second “hidden ecclesia” becomes the most effective way for Muslims to gather after accepting Christ and still remain salt and light inside their existing culture without complete rejection by family or society.

It now became clear why a Cell leader gave me the book.  Recent messages on “What is the Church?” “Community through Cells” and speaking about relational evangelism, had connected the two for this leader.  Her concern for those who make up nearly 20% of the world’s population had led her to investigate the life and beliefs of Muslims.

Dr. Nabbour inspired me by demonstrating once again that the cell church method is the most practical, effective and efficient way to reach the last great harvest among Muslims!

What is your experience with reaching Muslims?  Have you integrated these converts into your cell-based ministry?

2 thoughts on “Reaching Islam

  • Jeff wrote, “…Dr. Nabbour inspired me by demonstrating once again that the cell church method is the most practical, effective and efficient way to reach the last great harvest among Muslims!” Jeff then asks, “What is your experience with reaching Muslims?”

    Jeff, God has placed a burden on my heart to reach the 96% of people living in mobile homes in the US of A who are not affiliated with any church. So, I don’t have any experience reaching Muslims. However, my oldest daughter and her family feel called to reach Muslims and are currently living in a sensitive part of the world. She was raised with an understanding of cell-based principles and has come to have a greater appreciation of cell-based ministry.

    As for Dr. Nabbour inspiring you “…by demonstrating once again that the cell church method is the most practical, effective and efficient way to reach the last great harvest…”, many years ago I was contacted by a SBC foreign missionary who was retiring and had returned stateside. He had heard of me, read my book and told me there was nothing profound about the way we were doing ministry as this is the way ministry IS DONE overseas.

    He then asked if I would be willing to meet with a personal friend of his who was coincidently the president of the SBC convention, and share the cell-based vision with his friend. I agreed. Sadly, after about 30 minutes of discussion was told by the SBC president that he was dissapointed with me because as a graduate from a SBC seminary I, of all people, should know that the SBC already does church this way; it’s called Sunday School. Urgh!

    I find it rather ironic that converted Muslims have a better understanding of cell-based ministry than mainline denominations in the US of A.

    Sharing the Journey,
    Rick Diefenderfer

  • Peace be with you all that came to Joel, I am pastor of the church in Brazil squares (remember the big picture that you received in Manaus-AM Joel-am of this team of youth networks …) about what Rick Diefenderfer shared, I have to say it is a question of changing mentality. Unfortunately many pastors and theologians have had experience in small groups and mentors or (cell leaders, supervisors, …) that acompanhacem, confront and stimulate the growth multipliers … missed a Barnabas in their lives … teach young people to live and reproduce life changes through the cell should be an encouraging and exciting vision …. God bless you all!

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