Longing for Community

Church, Ummah, or Somewhere in Between
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Understanding the strength and unity of the ummah— the worldwide Muslim community—and its role in an individual’s identity is essential in comprehending the struggles that Muslims undergo as they turn to faith in Jesus Christ. It has been a place of security, acceptance, protection, and identity; turning away from it entails great sacrifice. Where, then, will Muslims who choose to follow Jesus find their longing for community fulfilled: ummah, church, or somewhere in between?

Longing for Community compiles the research and reflection of twenty missiologists, sociologists, anthropologists, and linguists—among them Muslims who have become believers in Jesus Christ— presented at the second Coming to Faith Consultation in February2010. The contributors explore the multiple levels and hybrid nature of social identity, pointing to the need to free our discussions from single-dimensional scales, which are far from adequate to describe the complex nature of conversion and lived-out faith. Beyond the issue of identity, the contributors offer important lessons from mission history, explore liturgy as an appropriate vehicle for teaching, discuss appropriate means of communication, and point to both the need and contextually appropriate possibilities of greater involvement of women in training and ministry.

  • ISBN: 9780878085330
  • Pages: 295
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Published: 2013
  • Publisher: William Carey Library


I found the book very thought provoking in the very issues that many missionaries are facing in the field. Our cultural ways as Latinos or Westerners are sometimes obtrusive of how God sometimes deals in His way with them. We need to be open to the manifold wisdom of God manifested in the East. Miracles, dreams, visions, and allowing the Holy Spirit to apply the revelation of the Scriptures in different homiletical categories that we have learned in the Systematic Theology.

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In the present day, sharing the Gospel to Muslims [or to anyone else] is different than the “mission compound” methodologies. I highly recommend this book to be read by readers who are striving to share Christ to anyone, especially to Muslims. It is also a thoughtful reading for general Christ followers [Christians] who are interested in understanding the issues in a mission field context. This book will encourage all of us to pray for those who are involved every day in helping people to understand the Injil.

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An excellent presentation of how to achieve a proper balance between sociological and spiritual realities within the challenge of outreach to Muslims.  The concept of “Ummah” (community) is explored and suggestions made on how to integrate believers into a new grouping that preserves biblical integrity while not denouncing Muslim culture and life. A valuable resource for practitioners on the front lines.


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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction: Transformed in Christ
David Greenlee

Section 1: "Understanding the Complexity of Conversion"

Chapter 2: Fuzzy Thinking and the Conversion Process
David Radford

Chapter 3: Relationships, Emotion, Doctrine, Intellect—and All That Follows
Kathryn Kraft

Chapter 4: Refusing to Choose: Multiple Belonging among Arab Followers of Christ
Jens Barnett

Chapter 5: Living a Pun: Cultural Hybridity among Arab Followers of Christ
Jens Barnett

Chapter 6: Conversion in the Light of Identity Theories
Tim Green

Chapter 7: Identity Choices at the Border Zone
Tim Green

Section 2: "Culture, Community, and Coming to Faith in Christ"

Chapter 8: The Ummah and Christian Community
Sufyan Baig

Chapter 9: Patronage, Salvation, and Being Joined with Jesus: Socio-anthropological Insights from South Asia
Colin Edwards

Chapter 10: "Us" or "Me"? Modernization and Social Networks among China’s Urban Hui
Enoch J. Kim

Chapter 11: Knowing but Not Confessing: Attitudes of Youth in Baku who have Heard the Good News
Russell Eleazar

Chapter 12: Sharing the Truth with Courtesy and Respect for all Cultures
Rick Brown

Chapter 13: Getting to the Source of Guilt, Fear, and Shame: Innocence, Security and Honor in the Muslim Context
L. R. Burke

Chapter 14: Areas of Change in the Conversion Processes of East African Muslims
Reinhold Straehler

Section 3: "Lessons to Foster Fruit and Growth"

Chapter 15: Fruitfulness from the Perspective of the Fruit and the Farmer
J. Dudley Woodberry

Chapter 16: Mission: Imitation of Christ
Jean-Marie Gaudeul

Chapter 17: Nestorians, Conversion, and Mission on the Early Silk Road
Jihan Paik

Chapter 18: The Anotoc Story, Continued: Group Dynamics within an Insider Movement
John Kim

Chapter 19: The “Disconnect” in The Discipleship of South Asian Women: Socio-cultural and Religious Barriers among Muslim Background Believers
Karen Scott

Chapter 20: Women's Gatherings and Leadership
Mary Davidson

Chapter 21: Liturgy to Focus Mind and Heart: Fostering Spiritual Growth among Muslim Seekers
Ruth Nicholls

Chapter 22: Against Winds and Waves: The Countercultural Movement of a Turk and the Turkish Protestant Church
James Bultema

Chapter 23: Concluding Reflections
David Smith

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