Assimilating Muslim Background Believers In House Churches In London, England
The Seventh-day Adventist Church’s evangelism among Muslims in London, England is growing. However the integration/assimilation of these new believers within Adventist churches is a serious challenge because most Adventist churches are not Muslim-friendly, and Muslim Background Believers (MBBs) fear being ostracized by their families since apostasy in Islam is a serious crime. Another contributing factor is that Seventh-day Adventist church members do not provide a social network of support for the seekers or MBBs. Therefore, there must be a better solution for integrating or assimilating members and for preparing Adventist churches in London for mission to Muslims.
Some of the MBBs of the South England Conference in London, England were encouraged to develop and implement a model for house churches to assimilate and nurture new MBBs and attract interested Muslims in a friendly, non-threatening environment. Steps for the development and implementation of such a model were put in place and research was conducted on the model and attendees to determine the effectiveness of the model.
Two house churches were started. One house church operated for a couple of months and was discontinued. Rahmani began this house church in the home of a family who had personal family issues. The house church of Habibi, which began with one or two people, grew as more people were added to it. Personal spirituality was emphasized as an important component of the teaching from the start. This model resulted in six baptisms within the first year and several others are also ready for baptism. It has also shown that the house church model minimizes the security threat to MBBs and avoids the stigma of attending a traditional church. Within this model, hospitality, love, and care are key components. Rahmani is now ready to start her house church and Habibi is ready to start a second house church.
This study demonstrates that a house church organized and run by MBBs with spirituality, hospitality, and care as the basis of its operation results in minimizing the stigma of MBBs joining a church and reduces the threat for Muslims becoming followers of Jesus. As a result, the South England Conference is now more open to the use of house churches in Muslim ministries.