Ministering to those of Different Faith
Lutheran Teachers Ministering to Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs
As American culture has become more diverse, so have our Lutheran Schools. When we have opportunity to minister to families from a different religious or geographic background, we often are uncertain how to proceed. The following suggestions may help Christians witness their faith to these diverse groups. Another resource is POBLO, People of the Book Lutheran Outreach, an LCMS mission society focused on “Sharing Jesus” with Muslims, Hindus and other ethnic groups.
- A warm, sincere greeting by a teacher is very important. Parents regard a personal greeting from the principal as an honor at school functions. A handshake means a lot.
- Always be respectful in personal interactions.
- Learn about their religion. It helps to know the basic tenets of Islam. Some Sikhs are vegetarians, while others are not. Pork is forbidden by some religions, while others prefer lamb or pork instead of beef. Understanding the dietary concerns in advance can help you address them positively and plan for them. Muslims are forbidden to eat pork and drink alcohol. Refrain from even talking about drinking alcohol.
- Explain that American culture and Christian culture are not identical. Many people hear that America is a Christian country and they wonder why things their religion prohibits (pornography, abortion) exist in our Christian society. We need to explain that many of those things are counter to our religion and also cause us offense.
- Avoid discussing politics.
- Offer personal invitations to your home or church events.
- Share your personal testimony of faith.
- Use the Word of God as much as possible. Talk about Jesus.
- Offer them literature to read about our beliefs.
- Use common English language terms.
- Discuss original sin as the reason why God had to send His Son to save us by grace. (Otherwise, they cannot understand why God would sacrifice His Son for us.)
- Encourage them to ask questions and then attempt to answer them honestly. Know what you believe! Have some print resources available to share.
- Don’t treat the Bible (God’s Holy Word) disrespectfully.
- Don’t denounce other religions.
- Don’t speak negatively of Muhammad.
- Don’t use the term Son of God for Jesus unless you explain it first.
- Don’t bring your dog into the place where you are inviting a Muslim.
- Don’t forget that family is very important.