Despite the fact that people of various religions, including Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and atheists, live near Christian communities, the co-founder of iHOPE Ministries highlighted how most Christians neglect to share the Gospel with their neighbors.
There was a time when missionary activities focused on sending missionaries to faraway countries, where they would sacrifice their lives in order to preach the Gospel to the whole world. Those days are long gone because, in recent years, God has been bringing people from all over the globe to nations and places where they may hear and embrace the Gospel message without fear of persecution.
"It's ironic. Jesus told us to go be His witnesses among the nations," Karen Bejjani wrote in their ministry website which was re-published by Charisma. This was in reference to Jesus' words in Matthew 28:16-20, which have become widely known within evangelical circles as the Great Commission.
"Now 95% of the world's unreached people groups live in America, and most everyday Christians are not talking about this," she added.
Bejjani confessed guilt to the same apathy, recalling how, as a kid, 93% of Americans identified as Christian. She had never met anybody of another religion or culture, and therefore had never considered sharing her faith.
She attended church on the majority of Sundays, helped in the children's ministry, prayed, and participated in women's Bible studies. She also provided financial assistance to many missionaries who traveled to distant lands to preach the Gospel.
Her Christian acquaintances were equally overburdened with child rearing, Bible study participation, and charity work. Consequently, she said that she didn't know anyone from her social circle who was motivated enough to pass on the hope of Jesus to others who weren't close to them. They didn't even bother discussing it, she said.
"Knowing that my faith-filled friends and I were completely unaware of our need to share our faith here, how intentional do you think our actions were toward sharing the Gospel? Pretty unintentional," she admitted. "The Lord might have been wooing people to Himself all around us, and we never noticed. We were focused on raising our families, keeping safe and pursuing the great American dream."
Learning to share the Gospel outside of church settings
As an example, Bejjani told the story of her friend Caroline, a Syrian refugee who fearlessly decided to share the Gospel to a driver while sitting in the backseat of a cab while traveling across the Middle East. Caroline asked their Muslim driver whether he knew Jesus, and when the driver inquired who he was, Caroline proceeded to share the Good News with him.
That made Bejjani wonder how other Christians who did not grow up in America may openly express their faith even in Muslim-majority nations like the Middle East, whereas the majority of believers in democratic countries would never consider doing so.
"She was the catalyst who forever changed my thoughts and actions for talking about my faith," she said of her friend Caroline.
About iHOPE Ministries
As per their description on their website, iHOPE Ministries is focused on developing a community of dedicated "Christian witnesses" who have the ability, conviction, and faith to go out and preach the Gospel to non-believers, specifically Muslims.
"iHOPE envisions a day in which every Muslim will have heard the Gospel of Jesus through an authentic relationship with a Christian," a part of their mission statement reads.