Loving a Mosque Community TogetherLorna Johnston
/Wednesday, May 17, 2023
Six years ago, I was sitting in a booth representing Loving Muslims Together at a conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
During one of the lulls in conversation I did a quick search on Salatomatic.com to see if there were any mosques nearby. I had been making a habit of taking photos of mosques across Canada, partly because it helped me understand the needs and opportunities for the Network, and partly because it was so interesting to me where they were and what spaces were being used (apart from the purpose - constructed mosques).
Mosques in business complexes. Mosques in community centres. Mosques in repurposed churches. Mosques in the back of automotive shops.
At that time the LMT Network (then called CNMM – Canadian Network of Ministries to Muslims) was focused on developing local city networks comprised of motivated people who would pray together, encourage one another, and become equipped to share the hope of Jesus Christ with Muslims in their community. It was challenging to find group leaders and it was even more challenging to retain group leaders over an extended period of time—and that was in the big cities where there was a large pool of potential leaders. Nonetheless the Network had grown from just an idea to now having groups in most major cities across Canada.
But as I searched for mosques in the Maritime provinces, I stumbled across one in Edmundston, NB, a town with a population of 17,000. It was then that I realized we needed to think again about how we were going to fulfill our mission that every Muslim in Canada would have a Christian friend who was companioning them in a journey of exploration and discovery about Jesus Christ—whether Jesus is a prophet (as claimed in Islam) or whether he is the Son of God, the Saviour of the world (as claimed by Christians).
Praying for a Mosque Community
As I did another quick search, I discovered a significant list of churches in the Edmundston region. One mosque…many churches.
In fact, across Canada there are around 15-20 churches for every mosque community, and that was the beginning of a dream, that every mosque community would have AT LEAST ONE church community praying for it.
- Praying that light would break into dark places.
- Praying that people would develop a curiosity to explore beyond what they had always been taught.
- Praying that Jesus Christ would reveal himself to people who had never had a chance to meet him.
Prayer is just the start though. I believe that as church communities start praying for nearby mosque communities the Lord of the Harvest will show them next steps in building community; loving and serving these neighbours.
The latest Canadian census indicates that 595,085 of the Muslims in Canada are South Asian—from Indian, Pakistan and Bangladesh. 510,620 are Arab from North Africa and the Middle East. 206,290 are West Asian – from Iran, Turkey, Syria, Afghanistan. 183,670 are Black from African countries south of the Sahara such as Nigeria and Somalia. People gather in community clusters to worship, so each mosque will have an identity reflecting the Muslim community who calls it theirs. No two will be alike. But all are full of lost people.
3 Questions to Consider
If you believe that Jesus loves them as much as he loves you, then here are three questions to consider:
- Where’s the mosque closest to you? Is there a mosque near your church? Not sure, do some internet searching—start with www.salatomatic.com. You might be surprised what’s hidden in plain sight.
- Are you praying for the mosque community near you? Would you start a prayer group in your church to pray for the mosque nearest your church community? Once a week? Once a month? If you do, let us know so we can track progress towards the vision of every mosque having a church community praying. Register your commitment at www.lovingmuslimstogether.ca/mosque.
- Do you like multiplying impact? Would you be the catalyst to ensure that every mosque in your city or province is being prayed for? Help us spread the word. We’ll gladly support you with resources and community! Contact us at email@example.com
Lorna Johnston is the Diaspora Ministries Leader at Outreach Canada. She leads two national teams--Simply Mobilizing Canada (SMC) and Loving Muslims Together (LMT). She works with teams of diverse and experienced leaders and ministries across Canada to alert and activate the church in Canada to the changing opportunities to engage God's mission right here in Canada.
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