About 20 years ago, the world had about 1.1 billion Muslims. Islam was a little known religion in most Western nations, and efforts on the part of the Church to share their faith in Christ with Muslims were scarce. Today, efforts have increased ten-fold and 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim world is one of the many agencies who have embraced the call to share the message of Jesus amongst the Muslim people. This agency has played a big part in educating, motivating and encouraging believers to respectfully and lovingly share their faith with Muslims. This prayer guide is now distributed in over 38 languages, and millions participate every year in the event!
It was reported by a mission’s strategist in the ‘Mission Frontiers’ magazine last year that in 1997 only two church-planting movements amongst Muslim people groups could be identified. By 2010, however, over 1,000 baptisms and/or 100 churches had been planted amongst at least 25 Muslim populations in the last decade.
Major breakthrough happened in South Asia among the Bengali, where at least half a million people with a Muslim background came to faith in Jesus. In Iran, Christian satellite broadcasting supports a strong and growing underground church movement with thousands of house fellowships throughout the country. Several hundred thousand people of an unreached Berber group in North Africa came to faith in just one of several movements taking place in that region.
The technological advance of the past 20 years has transformed the way in which the Gospel is communicated to previously unreached Muslim groups. Radio and satellite broadcasting throughout the Muslim world has resulted in millions of Muslims responding to the message of Christ. In the Arab world alone, one ministry, SAT7, has a regular audience of 8.5 million. It has also impacted the distribution of the Scriptures. Translations in local languages have become available, and alternatives such as audio and video versions of the Scriptures online, or as digital files has made Jesus more accessible and understandable than ever before to Muslims.
So, what of the next 20 years? According to a Pew study (www.pewforum.org/the-future-of-the-global-muslim-population.aspx) released in January 2011, 20 years from now the Muslim world population be double what it was 20 years ago, with Muslims representing a quarter of the world’s population. As followers of Christ, we must rise to meet this growth with a double portion of faith and love. Can we do it?