Building a friendship with someone who comes from a different religious background can be challenging, especially when your faith is such an important part of your life. You might be overwhelmed with trying to get to know them, figure out how to spend time with them, and love them as people without giving them the impression that you think their beliefs are correct.
Both sharing the Gospel and living a Christ-like life in front of your Muslim friend are important parts of your relationship. Taking time to connect and building an authentic relationship is an important step to invest in before jumping into deep spiritual conversations with your Muslim friend. But be careful, this does not mean that you should hide your faith. On the contrary, your friend needs to know from an early stage that you are a true Christ follower. Praying over a meal with them, or mentioning that you go to church on Sundays are simple ways to make this known to them.
Casual ways to connect with your Muslim friend
- Coffee - Going out to coffee is a staple of Christian bonding. It’s a great way to casually talk and get to know your friend without a lot of pressure.
- Texting and checking in - Keeping in touch with your Muslim friend even when you are not together tells them that you value them and miss them!
- Engaging with them on social media - Whether you’re responding to their stories or sending them encouraging posts from different accounts, in our digital world, social media has become a vital tool for evangelism (read our blog post about digital evangelism to learn more)!
How to spend time with them once a friendship is established
Getting lunch together at a halal-friendly restaurant (that means a restaurant with foods that will fit your Muslim friend’s religious diet).
Inviting them over for a meal is one step above going out to eat. Being a good host and inviting them into your home speaks volumes! Once again, make sure you have halal-friendly food options. If they invite you over for dinner, bring a gift to show your appreciation.
Hanging out with common friends from work or school is a great way to grow your friendship. If those peers are Christians as well, invite your Muslim friend into your community so that they can see love in action!
Inviting them to church is the most important way you can spend time with your Muslim friend. Once you have talked to them about Jesus and they have expressed interest, invite them! Make sure to give them an explanation of what will happen and reassure them that all they have to do is show up.
Pray over your friendship
Whatever stage your friendship is in with your Muslim friend, pray before you take the next step. It is important to listen to the Holy Spirit’s guidance (after all, it is the Holy Spirit’s job to change your Muslim friend’s heart, not yours!).
Do not be afraid to talk about your faith with your Muslim friend! We have guides for how to specifically reach Muslim women or Muslim men, BUT the most important thing is to be yourself and allow your Muslim friend to see the fruit of the Holy Spirit in your life!
No matter what you do with your friend, keep these things in mind:
- If there is food involved, make sure it is halal. (What does this mean?)
- Make sure your friend is comfortable with what you’re doing. For example, if they are married, they will most likely want to make sure what they are doing is okay with their spouse.
- Ask questions more than you preach. You don’t want to be a “missionary friend,” where it is obvious that you are only friends with them to convert them. Instead, get to know your Muslim friend and love them. God will open doors for you to share the Gospel when the time is right.
- Be a praying friend. When your Muslim friend shares difficult situations in their lives or the lives of their loved ones, do not hesistate to ask if you can pray for them. Don't wait till you go home to pray, but ask permission to pray right then, and do it humbly addressing the Heavenly Father and close the prayer in Jesus’ name.
A prayer for your friendship
Dear Lord, thank you for my Muslim friend. Thank you for the opportunity to spend time with them, getting to know them and getting to love them. Please give me the wisdom to know how to connect with them in a way that lets them be comfortable and open up their hearts to know You, the loving God. Amen.