We encourage you to give your own reviews and thoughts in the comments.

On April 9th and 10th I was privileged to help coordinate and attend the Engaging Islam training in Austin, Tx. given by Georges Houssney of Horizons International.

In full disclosure Georges Houssney is a writer for this online journal, a close friend, and his organization sponsors and is highly involved with this journal. I would love to say that this review is unbiased, but in reality Biblical Missiology, its views, and its  passion for seeing missiology and missions impacted by the Word of God would not exist without the faithful help of Georges Houssney.

Georges Houssney came to Austin and spent a week speaking at the Encountering the World of Islam training, and his own training Engaging Islam Weekend. He also did several other events, and spoke specifically to Muslims on the University of Texas, Austin campus in a gospel sharing outreach labeled Muhammad & Jesus: A Comparison and Discussion.  This review will cover only the training created and provide by him, Engaging Islam Weekend.

The one night and one day training focused on the following subjects:

  • Reactions to Islam
  • Islam through the eyes of Jesus and Paul
  • Spiritual Factors
  • Bold as a Lion
  • Islam 101: Beliefs and Practices
  • Contrasts between Islam and Christianity
  • Current Status of Islam in the World
  • Brief Statistics on Muslim Population in the U.S.
  • The Model of Jesus in Ministry: A Survey of the Gospel of Matthew
  • Engaging Muslims

Georges was also accompanied by another Engaging Islam trainer Barbara Yandell who taught some of the sessions. The training was a weekend version of the 4 week long summer training. It was highly intensive and quick. Every subject that was covered seemed like a fire hose of information that didn’t slow-down until the end. I attended the predecessor of the Engaging Islam series back in 2000 in Boulder, Colorado that lasted 4 weeks and was called the Summer Institute of Muslim Studies. The curriculum rewritten, changed slightly, addresses new movements in missions, but also goes back and returns to simple concepts, and the basics, which simply is the Word of God.

Georges teaching method seems to be very eastern (He is after all Lebanese), in that it addressed less numbers, statistics, and other western talking-point favorites, and instead focused in on stories, relating how to meet, and build relationships with Muslims all the way through to their process to salvation, discipleship and growth. The training focused heavily on relating that if God is with us, we have nothing to fear from Muslims, nothing to be ashamed of, and certainly no reason to be shy in boldly sharing the clear and complete gospel.

In fact, if there is one thing that I have heard attendees of the training relate again and again since the training is that they feel more emboldened to focus on sharing the gospel clearly, and unchanged. That the Word of God demands from everyone a powerful reaction, that without the drawing of the Holy Spirit it will always be foolishness or a stumbling block. But with the drawing and intervention of the Holy Spirit, it will be unavoidable good news. The training stressed again and again the spiritual factors, that our goal is not to convince people to believe in a gospel, but rather to find and call out those who are already being called by the Holy Spirit.

I have been through many trainings that focused on strategies, methodologies, anthropological and sociological factors to reach Muslims, as well as statistical and numerological devices made to motivate. But I must say, that the one training that I have gone to that has been the most refreshing spiritually, the most motivating biblically, and the most glorifying is Engaging Islam where the Word of God is the strategy, the method, and the device to bring the lost before the powerful, and awesome love of our God. Our role is simply to preach this Word, and let the Holy Spirit determine the rest.

I highly recommend not only the Engaging Islam Weekend, but if at all possible take one, two, three, or the full four weeks during the summer and take the whole lengthened course with 103 training sessions.

We encourage you to give your own reviews and thoughts in the comments.

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