Effective Discipling in Muslim Communities
Muslims who come to Christ face momentous spiritual, psychological and social obstacles that drive many to abandon their faith. Often conversion and discipleship are framed by individualistic Western models that do not acknowledge the communal cultural forces that constrain and shape new believers. Effective discipleship requires a more relational, holistic process of Christian identity development and spiritual formation in community.
In this comprehensive resource, missiologist Don Little engages the toughest theoretical and practical challenges involved in discipling believers from Muslim backgrounds. He draws on New Testament principles, historical practices and interviews with seasoned disciplers ministering in a dozen countries across the Muslim world. Addressed here are key challenges that believers from Muslim backgrounds face, from suffering and persecution to spiritual warfare and oppression. Also included are implications for the role of disciplers in church planting among Muslims.
"The discipling of Muslim-background believers is a momentous challenge of immense strategic significance for the church today. As Islamic revolutions fail throughout the world and Muslims turn to Christ in multitudes, their discipling has become urgent indeed. Effective Discipling in Muslim Communities is an insightful, well-informed and wide-ranging exploration of this challenge. This is essential reading for trainers and practitioners alike and all those God is calling to labor in the vast, ripening harvest fields of the Muslim world."
"As the number of Muslims becoming Christians worldwide is growing, we need to assure that they do not haste into a kind of Western religion, but are wisely discipled as followers of Christ to be mature and credible testimonies within their own Muslim cultures. Never before have the problems and chances been discussed as broadly as in Little's book . . . knowledge that easily might influence the future of the relation of the two largest world religions."
"This book comes at a critical time. More Muslims are coming to faith in Christ in the beginning of this century than in all the other centuries combined since the rise of Islam; yet there has been significant controversy over how they should be evangelized and discipled. Don Little has been one of the leaders who seek to foster understanding amongst evangelicals on these practices in a spirit of truth and grace. The present study, which draws broadly on Scripture, history and his experience, makes a significant contribution to the conversation. It thereby is a model for others to join that conversation from their different perspectives but with the same concern for truth and grace."
"Don Little, from tons of 'hands on' experience and wide interviewing among workers with Muslims in many countries, in Effective Discipling in Muslim Communities has provided us with a severely needed though demanding practical guide that is destined to upgrade the discipling of Muslims toward becoming reproducers and a joy to God's heart."
"A well-written, comprehensive and scholarly work. It is very much worth reading. I will recommend it to my students."
"Seventy-five disciplers were interviewed for this book. These mentors have walked the road of discipleship with more than three thousand Muslim-background Arabs. This is substantial data. Yet contemporary information and strategy are only part of the research. Whole chapters bubble with Paul's and Luke's understandings of discipleship. Other chapters trace discipleship through church history and throughout the Western and Muslim worlds today. Although no fan of 'insider movements,' the author champions humble adaptation and relevant contextual communication. In particular, he wrestles with issues like the construction of identity, persecution, demonic realities, handling money and roles for expatriates. Workers in the Muslim world will find this book a stimulating dialogue partner and will learn a lot."
"Dr. Don Little has written a practical book regarding discipleship of believers from Muslim backgrounds (BMBs). Little writes from a background of academic research as well as many years spent in actually discipling BMBs. Much of his research and conclusions are drawn from his in-depth interviews with seventy-five seasoned disciplers of BMBs. Little spends significant time exploring the unique problems one experiences in discipling BMBs and offers helpful guidelines in dealing with such situations. Multiple books have been written concerning power encounter, signs, wonders and exorcism, but Little is unique in relating these subjects to discipling BMBs. His insights are valuable. I highly recommend this excellent addition to the literature that seeks to show disciplers how to become more effective in discipling believers."
Introduction: The Quest for Deeper Understanding of Discipleship and the Need for Seasoned Discipling Practices
Part I: Biblical, Historical and Missiological Foundations for Discipling Believers from Muslim Backgrounds (BMBs)
1. Genuine Conversion to Christ forms the Basis for Lifelong Discipleship
2. Paul?s Understanding of Discipleship and Spiritual Growth
3. Discipleship from Christ to the Early Church in Luke-Acts
4. Contemporary Western Evangelical Approaches to Discipleship
5. Historical Understandings of Spiritual Formation in the Church
6. Contextualization and Discipleship Within Muslim Communities
7. The Goals, Processes, Roles and Stages in Discipling BMBs
8. The Living Pyramid of Relational Communal Discipling of BMBs
Part II: Seasoned Practices in Discipling BMBs
9. The Biggest Obstacles to Effective BMB Discipleship
10. Negotiating a New Identity in Christ Within Muslim Communities
11. Discipling BMBs in and Through Persecution
12. Discipling in the Face of Demonic Oppression and Attack
13. Understanding and Handling Money Well in Discipling BMBs
14. Discipling Believing Families in Muslim Communities
15. Suitable Roles for Expatriate Disciplers
Conclusion: Helping Believers and Churches Thrive in Muslim Communities
Appendix A: The Demographics and Design of the Research Conducted in 2007 in the Arab World on BMB Discipleship
Appendix B: Questions Asked During the Interviews
Appendix C: Supplementary Tables Giving Further Information
Appendix D: Navigating Between Two Identities
Appendix E: What About Witnessing Among the Sioux?