Jump directly to the Content
Jump directly to the Content

Sermon Illustrations

Home > Sermon Illustrations

Building a Bridge of Trust with Five Muslim Men

In his book The 9 of Arts Spiritual Conversation, John Crilly tells a story about building a relationship with five young Muslim men from a refugee camp outside Kenya:

We have very different life experiences and faith stories. I was raised in an Irish Catholic middle-class family of four outside of Chicago. They were Muslims raised in Kenyan refugee camps, fleeing tribal violence in their homeland. They boarded a plane in T-shirts and flip-flops and arrived in a new country in the dead of winter, carrying all their belongings in a bag. We had hardly anything in common. But because of God, our lives have been divinely woven together as our God of Love pursues each one of these young men.
As we were driving along [in my pickup truck], one of the boys mentioned something about prayer. Following a whisper from God and stirred by curiosity, I turned down the radio and asked, "How does a Muslim pray?" The relational dynamic changed as soon as I asked that question. I wasn't only these young men's tutor/mentor/adult friend in a position of status above them; I was also a person who was interested in learning from them. They were empowered to guide the conversation and share as much or as little as they wanted. They were in control of the discussion. They started the conversation by telling me about the five "salats" of each day, with each one chiming in as I listened intently. I was fascinated and asked follow-up questions to clarify my understanding and seek to know their lives better. Their experiences were utterly foreign to me. The discussion was rich, as I was able to demonstrate my love for them by hearing their story, learning about their religion, and exploring their world with them. Then an amazing thing happened.
As we arrived in my driveway, one of them asked me, "How does a Christian pray?"

Possible Preaching Angles: Evangelism; Witnessing—Crilly uses this as an example of "pre-evangelism"—the art of learning to listen and ask good questions in order to show love and build trusting relationships.

Related Sermon Illustrations

Modern-Day Missionary at McDonald's

Global missions expert Paul Borthwick shared the following story to remind us how God's mission can be from anyone anywhere at any time:

A young man named Peter reminded me of a modern-day ...
[Read More]

The Church May Need To Take a Few Notes from FedEx

Every day FedEx sends over four million packages to valued customers. FedEx’s delivery routes cover every U.S. street and service more than 220 countries. In order to send well, ...

[Read More]