Text Message Discipleship

Not long ago Talibah (not her real name), a young woman from the Middle East, began a text message correspondence with the Arabic media outreach team of Back to God Ministries International (BTGMI).

Her first message was, “I want to write to you privately, but I want a promise that you do not give my phone number to anyone. My identity is totally guarded.”

She told the Arabic staff, “Even my phone is not private. I have to wipe out my texts.”

Talibah’s first contact with the Bible came through the Arabic ministries website. She went online frequently to visit the site and was curious about the messages posted there.

Her father didn’t mind that she was exploring the Christian faith, but her mother and brother had a serious problem with it. They were very angry that she was interested in reading the Bible.
Through text-messaging, the Arabic staff was able to give Talibah initial responses to her questions and then connect her with a Christian female volunteer who is now working with her. She continues to read the Bible and exchange text messages with the BTGMI volunteer.

“Text messaging has three wonderful advantages,” explained the Arabic ministry leader and director of the partner ministry MERF (Middle East Reformed Fellowship). “First, it is very inexpensive to send a text message. Second, texting is a quick and easy method for staff to reply to listeners. Third, seekers receive a quick reply.”

He added, “More important—texting is very private for those who must remain anonymous.”

The Arabic staff frequently encounters situations like this. A seeker connects with the media ministry through Facebook, on the website, or by text message.

“When we sense that they are serious about learning more about the Christian faith—after perhaps three initial texts—a local or regional volunteer trained to follow up with questions about the Christian faith connects with them through text message or Skype,” said the Arabic leader.

Because there is great risk for both staff and Muslim seekers, the ministry proceeds cautiously and prayerfully, the leader explained.

“When our staff is sure the person is serious about committing to Christ, we send another person to connect with the seeker in a social interaction, perhaps in a coffee shop.”

Pray for the careful and extensive training given to Arabic staff and volunteers who minister to Muslims interested in the Christian faith. Pray for Talibah as she learns what it means to be a follower of Christ. And rejoice with us when a seeker makes a commitment to Christ.

About the Author

Nancy Vander Meer is a staff writer with Back to God Ministries International in Grand Rapids, Mich.
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