More than 200 American Christians attended a conference in Indianapolis this past weekend to learn how to reach out to Muslims in North America.
Speakers at the Oasis Conference, hosted by Muslim outreach ministry Crescent Project, included two former Muslims and a pastor who was born and raised in the Middle East.
Attendees heard answers on questions such as: How can we reach out in love to our Muslim neighbors? How can we clearly present the gospel to Muslims without offending them? How can my congregation reach out to the Muslim community down the street? How can my student group reach out to Muslims on my campus?
As part of their effort to gain perspective on the lives of American Muslims, some Oasis attendees visited a mosque and witnessed a Friday prayer service.
Fouad Masri, Crescent Project founder and president, said the event was designed to mobilize, equip and encourage U.S. Christians to reach out to Muslims. He highlighted that there are only about two missionaries for every million Muslims in the world, "which means each one has to reach 500,000," highlighted Masri, who was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon, according to Mission Network News.
Masri said most Christians are afraid or don't know where to begin to reach Muslims. But based on his long-time experience working with the growing population, he asserted that most Muslims want to know about Jesus and the Bible.
"Muslims are taking Bibles. Muslims talk about Jesus. We've seen people pray to receive Christ," said the pastor who has been ministering to Muslims since 1979. "There's such a hunger that we've never seen before because Islam has failed to answer the deepest questions."
These deep questions include: Does God love me? Can I be sure my sins are forgiven? Can I be sure of eternal life?
"Our job is not to make the Muslim a Christian," Fouad often reminds his audience, according to the ministry's Web site. "Our job is to show them the love of Christ."
Masri insists that Muslims are not "hard" to share the Gospel with. The issue rather is that they haven't heard the Gospel, according to MNN.
The third-generation pastor is said to have trained nearly 11,000 North American Christians to "sensitively" and "purposefully" share their faith with Muslims.
Workshops at this year's Oasis conference included: A Crash Course on Islam, A Muslims' Mind: What Every Christian Needs to Know about the Islamic Tradition; The History of the Qur'an; Understanding the Daughters of Ishmael; Reaching the Muslim Next Door; Remaining Faithful When Little Fruit is Evident; and The Campus: A Strategic and Non-Threatening Platform for Sharing Jesus with Muslims.
In total, more than 20 workshops in the categories of understanding Islam, ministry skills, mobilization, and apologetics were offered during the three-day Oasis conference.