Alabama Christians Build Bridges With Muslims

VESTAVIA HILLS, Ala. (The Alabama Baptist) — When Rob Bensinger was at the North American Mission Board’s SEND Conference three years ago God struck him with a realization.

He didn’t know any Muslims.

That realization came after Bensinger, a member of Shades Mountain Baptist Church, Vestavia Hills, heard two things at the conference that changed the trajectory of his thoughts.

“One is that God has brought the nations to us — you don’t have to go on an international trip to find them,” Bensinger said.

The second was that if you’re waiting on your ministry to start when you go overseas, there’s nothing magical about a plane ride — intentional gospel sharing starts right here where we are.

So with that in mind he and fellow church member Jase Vann did some Google searches and found that an Islamic society was really close to where they lived. They reached out through a contact form on the website.

“I wrote that it seems we have some common moral beliefs, maybe we can build on that to unite the communities,” Bensinger said.

The imam wrote them back soon after saying he loved the idea.

In the time since Bensinger and Vann, who both have day jobs in finance, have formed strong relationships with the men at the Islamic center. They invite each other into their homes. And every quarter they do a “lunch and learn” where they get together and talk about some shared moral value or belief from each other’s perspective.

For example, if the topic is “service to others” or “sacrifice,” the leaders at the Islamic center will share why Muslims believe those things are important, then Bensinger or Vann will share why Christians do.

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Source: Baptist Press