Missions Catalyst 08.24.11 – Practical MobilizationAug 24th, 2011 | By Missions Catalyst | | Print This Post |
In This Issue: Speaking Out on 9/11
- Speaking Out on 9/11: A Dozen Practical Ideas
- Mission Events: Recent Additions to Our Calendar
Missions Catalyst is a free, weekly electronic digest of mission news and resources designed to inspire and equip Christians worldwide for global ministry. Use it to fuel your prayers, find tips and opportunities, and stay in touch with how God is building his kingdom all over the world. Please forward it freely!
Speaking Out on 9/11: A Dozen Practical Ideas
In a wonderful gift from a gracious God, September 11, 2011, falls on a Sunday. On that morning, as we remember the great evil acts committed against the U.S. and many of our families ten years ago, much will be written, said, maybe sung, and likely ranted. I’m looking at you when I say, “Don’t let this day pass without asking God for a chance to make your voice heard.” And with whatever chance God gives you, engage with gusto.
Given the tragic events of ten years ago, the devastating wars that have followed in their wake, and the profound upheaval of the Arab Spring that seems unwilling to fade, more people than ever have Muslims on their minds.
But what are they thinking? In my experience, all too often it’s, “Oh my, Muslims are taking over the world.”
And what are they feeling? Fear. “I’m afraid my kids will have to live under sharia law.”
Will Muslims take over the world? Will your kids have to live under sharia law? Stranger things have happened. Followers of Jesus throughout history, including last week and this, have dealt with similar circumstances.
Does that mean despair and fear are called for? Certainly not. But who will speak against despair and fear with a voice of humility, truth, and biblical hope? Maybe you and me. Maybe in the next couple of weeks.
Messages of Humility, Truth, and Hope
What might we say that otherwise won’t be heard?
Perhaps we could affirm how God in Christ, and elsewhere in the Bible, actively cared for the very people his people counted as enemies, and how he taught his followers to do likewise.
Maybe we could share a story or two about how God is right now reaching out to Muslims and how he seems to be pleased to grow his kingdom among them. Draw on your own experience or pull from a quick scan of recent Missions Catalystarticles. You could recount how you’ve befriended a Muslim and found them to be a real person not unlike you: someone trying to find a way in the world, keep their kids fed and their spouse happy.
Maybe God would ask you to share how he’s answering the prayers of many to send laborers into the harvest, equipping and launching thousands who are (in the words of Frontiers, “with love and respect inviting all Muslim peoples to follow Jesus.”
If you’re feeling particularly gutsy, you just might say, “On this day, this solemn day of remembering, I invite you to join me in living the next ten years in such a way and in such a place that many, many Muslims find hope and life in Jesus.”
Maybe the most significant thing we can do is lead others in honestly asking, “How do the people of Jesus follow him as we relate to this community of 1.5 billion people, a tiny fraction of whom have done us great harm? What prayers should we pray? What thoughts should we think? What action should we take?”
Whatever you say, may God help us not to miss this amazing opportunity.
A Dozen Practical Ideas
Here are twelve avenues through which to get the word out. Please drop additional ideas in the comments right away so the rest of us have a chance to act on them.
1. Ask your pastor if you can preach. Maybe even as you read this, he’s on his knees with God, requesting a break from the rigors of sermon preparation. Bam. Your email drops into his lap! Next thing you know, you have twenty-five minutes to chat with your church about God’s intentions for the Muslim world. I know this worked for me. As part of my talk, I’m planning to ask a friend from a Muslim background (now following Jesus) to share a little bit with us from his perspective.
2. Write a blog post. If you don’t have a blog, now may be a good time to start. Posterous.com is easy. You simply send an email message with what you want to say and, bingo, you have a blog.
What if you can’t write good or you don’t know how to say what you want to? I would encourage you to freely borrow from others. Good places to start might be the blogs of Carl Medearis or Rick Love and the LEARN page at FrontiersUSA. (Be sure to start off your post by saying, “I was reading . . .” You’ll stir up enough stuff just quoting these guys. No need to add plagiarism to the mix.)
3. Get really edgy and say something in your Facebook status. Make it kind, gracious, and worth copying. (Just please don’t ask all your friends to either repost it or risk horrible misfortune!)
4. Take some Muslims out to lunch, or better yet, invite them and your pastor to your house for lunch. This would involve saying a lot to a few, but it might launch really cool stuff. If this seems too limited, host a lunch at church to which you invite twice as many Muslims as Christians. (Consult with a Muslim about the menu. You’ll be glad you did. So will the pigs!)
5. Make some posters or banners and get permission to hang them at church. Google “church banner” for some design ideas. (If you make a banner with this quote: “When Jesus said, ‘Love your enemies,’ I’m pretty sure he meant, ‘Don’t kill them,’” you’ll probably not get asked to make banners again!)
6. Create a slide for the pre-service scrolling PowerPoint announcements. Go here for great design ideas, because nobody wants to see another dumpy PowerPoint slide. (Note: I didn’t look through every deck at this site and cannot endorse the contents; there may be some bad language, etc.)
7. Post stuff to Twitter. Starting two days ahead, let people know how you’re thinking and praying about the anniversary. This would be a good place to share what a Muslim friend of yours is thinking and praying about the anniversary. (Also, if you can work in a reference to Rick Warren, he might retweet your tweet to a bazillion young pastors around the world.)
8. If you send out a monthly newsletter, give some of the space in the next one to remembering 9/11 and encouraging your readers to love Muslims the way Jesus does. I’m planning to do that later this week. Let me know if you would like to get on the list.
9. Ask all of your Sunday school teachers and small group leaders to show A Land Called Paradise, a short video talking about how Muslims in the U.S. view themselves. Give them two or three questions to guide their processing.
10. Write a letter to the editor of your local paper. I know, you have more friends on Facebook than your local paper has readers, but let’s get the word out all over.
11. Rent a billboard. Given the state of the global economy, this might be more doable than you think. A brief Jesus quote might be a good start: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” In smaller type, say, “We remember all who died on 9/11.” (Just please don’t put a picture of Jesus on the sign. It’s too hard to find one that works.)
12. Host a candlelight march or prayer vigil in your town. If you’re reading this on the day of publication, you only have about two weeks to pull this together. But that’s why we have Facebook and Twitter, right? Make sure to get it co-sponsored by a Muslim organization.
Please let us know through your comments what you’re planning to do and where. We’ll be inspired. We’ll pray for your efforts. Maybe a few of us will even tell our friends who live in your town to show up and hear you preach! Through all our efforts may Jesus be lifted up and may the good and true purposes of God go forward.
Mission Events: Recent Additions to Our Calendar
A few more events planned for September and just added to our calendar:
September 15 to 17 – OPEN Expo (Denver, CO, USA). For practitioners of Business as Mission.
September 27 to 28 – ISFM Annual Conference (Phoenix, AZ, USA). Sponsored by the International Society for Frontier Missiology. Theme: The Call of the Kingdom – Resetting Church and Mission across the Frontiers.
This event is planned in conjunction with the North American Mission Leaders Conference September 29 to October 01.
Shane Bennett has served in missions mobilization since 1987, much of his energy going to recruiting, training, and sending short-term teams. He’s been on research teams in Bangkok, Bombay, and Turkey. He coauthored Exploring the Land, a guide to researching unreached peoples, and has written numerous articles.