peace building & conversion

Even though you focus on peace building, don’t you also want to convert Muslims to Christianity? In other words, is conversion one of your goals?


We’re Christian for a reason. We believe we’ve been invited into a way of living and being in the world that is true. Naturally, we want others to experience the beauty and goodness we’ve found. But while our Christian hope is that our Muslim friends would encounter and follow Jesus in a transformative way and even join us in our Christian journey, we also recognize that our Muslim friends hope that we might discover the truth as they believe it and convert to Islam to become part of the worldwide Muslim ummah (community).

These ultimate hopes are natural for Muslims and Christians to have, including those who participate in dialogue and peace building efforts together. However, Christian and Muslim peace builders acknowledge that seeking to convert one another introduces an agenda into their relationships that actually prevents the development of crucial ingredients necessary for building genuine peace (empathetic listening, self-reflection, the pursuit of genuine understanding, and mutual respect). For example, when my agenda is to convert Muslims I know rather than genuinely listening to their experiences, I will tend to focus my attention on what I understand to be the weaknesses of their point of view so that I can offer rebuttals to their thinking and demonstrate the superiority of my own theological position. This is a very natural way to approach any difference in point of view. But does it really change anyone?

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Jesus-centered peace building FAQs

      1. What is Jesus-centered peace building?
      2. Why do you do Jesus-centered peace building rather than traditional Christian mission work?
      3. How do you do Jesus-centered peace building work? What does it look like?
      4. What evidence do you see for peace building work in the Bible?
      5. How do I get started (individually or as a small group)?
      6. How can our small group or church get involved in peace building work?
      7. What about conversion? Shouldn’t we try to convert Muslims to Christianity?
      8. What about saving people from hell?
      9. What about Muslim violence and the persecution of Christians?
      10. Do Muslims speak out against terrorism and other forms of violent extremism? (Yes, they do.)
      11. How should I respond to fear, hatred, and misunderstanding about Muslims among Christians around me?

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Bosnia trip #2 – advice from Muslim friends and an invitation

Even though Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston while I was gone, my second trip to Bosnia from August 22-29 was both a lot of fun and a “success.” I reconnected with friends, met new ones, and received a lot of great feedback from Bosnians of different ethnic and religious backgrounds. My first trip (read that trip reflection here) was to learn whether and how my family, as Peace Catalyst staff, could be a support to ongoing local efforts to work for peace. (We’ll be trying to nuance our understanding of how we can do that concretely for years to come.) This second trip was primarily about discerning who could be a local partner to sponsor our residency while we learned from and joined their work.

Some Muslim peace builders and a Protestant pastor offered me some of the most helpful guidance and encouragement:

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timeline for Bosnia

Before returning to the States in April, we’d already been in conversation with our mentors at Peace Catalyst International to think through where God could be calling us to next. And Bosnia was on the top of all of our radars.

As we’ve been back, we’ve spent time with family (Jack has needed some solid grandparent time!), reconnected with friends, and started to learn how to contribute to Peace Catalyst’s Jesus-centered peace building work in the States.

At the same time, though, we’ve been actively planning for our next steps to Bosnia.

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approach to partnerships in Bosnia

Peace Catalyst International (PCI) staff have traveled to Bosnia for learning trips and have significant relationships with Bosnians involved in peace building work there. However, PCI has not vetted potential organizations to the degree that is needed to launch an official partnership. Vetting organizations and identifying commonalities and distinctives are incredibly important in PCI’s processes as it looks to expand its work internationally. So this year, we are focusing on getting to know the landscape of the various religious communities involved in peace building and the non-profit sector in Bosnia before we identify partner organization(s) and a sponsor for our residency.

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resisting ethnic divisions in schools

Bosniaks, Croats, and Serbs have very different accounts about why the Bosnian War occurred. As a result, each group has different perspectives about the wrongdoing of other parties, which allow politicians to politicize the stories of their own victims and incite further division.

So, what does that mean for the education system in Bosnia? How do you teach Bosniak, Croat, and Serb children while groups still don’t recognize the others’ versions of history?

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Peter’s unintentional peace building

The call to build peace by welcoming outsiders and loving enemies can be uncomfortable and off-putting. But it’s not only difficult for us now – it’s been difficult for God’s people from the beginning. God’s call to love indiscriminately is so…not human. His thoughts are not our thoughts, and his ways are not our ways (Is. 55).

The story of Peter and Cornelius in Acts 10 shows us how God continued to teach his people to become like Jesus by loving enemies and welcoming outsiders. Their interaction is a great model for us today.

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starting tips for interfaith peace building

There’s a lot of increased interest about other people and faiths in today’s globalized world. Recently, our friends and acquaintances have asked about resources and ideas that can help them get involved in local peace building efforts between people of different faiths, especially with local Muslim communities. So here are some starting tips, but please contact us with any questions, comments, or suggestions.

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visiting local mosques, building friendships

Although visiting a mosque with a Muslim friend is usually easier than going on your own, you might not know any Muslims yet or the Muslims you do know may not go to prayers regularly. That shouldn’t get in the way of your interest in meeting your Muslim neighbors or learning more about Islam. I’ve found that even Muslims I’ve just met are excited to show off their place of worship and answer my questions. While I’m certainly not an expert, people sometimes wonder what steps I take to visit a local mosque and how they might be able to meet their Muslim neighbors as well – so here are a few tips.

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