Arabic Baptist Church fights confusion, grasps evangelization

Gannett ran a good story Sunday on Arabic Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and their evangelism with Muslims in Middle Tennessee. Here is an excerpt:

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — The cadence of Sanaa Shehata’s prayer quickens as it goes on, her Arabic words foreign to some in Arabic Baptist Church’s pews, but her rising enthusiasm and volume obvious to all.

The English translation, transmitted through an earpiece, more reflects the church’s rural Tennessee setting — measured, quiet, delivered in a Southern drawl. But white or Arab, English-speakers or not, members of the congregation have the same mission: Evangelizing Muslims in a language many of them understand.

It’s what prompted Pastor Raouf Ghattas and his wife, Carol, to put off retirement five years ago and instead start visiting area churches, explaining Islam and leading strategy sessions on how to reach its practitioners. He held services in living rooms, eventually sharing space with Grace Baptist Church near Murfreesboro’s southern city limits.

It sits next door to Murfreesboro’s Islamic Center and made news by filling its yard with 23 huge crosses after the center opened in 2012. Now, Arabic Baptist has its own building in the wide-open spaces between Murfreesboro and Smyrna and about 30-50 people attending Sunday services each week. They meet in the former Scenic Drive Baptist Church, which closed after dwindling attendance made it impossible to continue.

FOR THE ENTIRE STORY: Arabic Baptist Church fights confusion, grasps evangelization

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