Elijah21. Jesus Christ for Muslims

The initiative, which originated in Germany and is already being implemented in several European countries, has been Elijah21 aims - with the slogan Jesus for Muslims- to make Jesus Christ known to Muslims who emigrated to the West. We interviewed its founder, Andreas Sauter.

José M. García Pelegrín-March 27, 2022-Reading time: 4 minutes

The initiative called Elijah21 operates throughout Europe with Christians of many denominations, who work together to bring the Love of Jesus Christ to Muslims. They organize activities to get to know Muslims better and to show them the joy and hope of faith in Jesus Christ. 

On your website, you explain what the name Elijah21 means. But why did you take the name of the prophet Elijah? How did the initiative come about? 

-The name actually arose from prayer. Through the confrontation with the priests of Baal, the prophet Elijah appears as a model in the question of the true God. In addition, the book of Malachi ends with the promise of a time in the spirit of the prophet Elijah before the return of Jesus: "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD, who will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.". We experience this reconciliation every day in our actions. Hence the suffix 21, which represents the 21st century, that is, today....

The initiative, now extended as a missionary organization throughout Europe, is a story of listening individually to the voice of God and obeying it consistently. The situations in which we have noticed God's hand manifest how He is the one who guides and creates greater realities than the individual is capable of creating on his own.

Your main objective is to make Jesus known to Muslims, for example by presenting a film about Jesus Christ in different languages in parishes. How do you choose these? Does your work have an ecumenical orientation?

-Frequently, they contact us when they have the desire to join us in bringing the love of Jesus to refugees living nearby. We meet the parishes at congresses, through our newsletterThey can be found at Christian events or simply by contacting them by phone. Many times they come from personal contact and networking. We have always served alongside churches and communities of all denominations. We want to look together at Jesus and not at each other. Our common mission comes from the Gospel, from Jesus' call to communicate his love. 

How do interested Muslims find out about your offer? How long have you been doing it and how many Muslims have you introduced to Jesus since then?

-We always invite them personally; the next day, we pick them up at their own accommodation. We have been doing this since 2016 and have held approximately 80 events in Germany and also in Austria. We have brought the Gospel in this way to about 8,000 Muslims.

Are there common characteristics of the people who participate in your activities? What are the "typical" reactions of Muslims who did not know Jesus until now?

-The people who accept our invitation do not have significant general characteristics. Basically, we can say that the hearts of the refugees are very open and most of them are looking for a loving God. This is because in Islam they have not found him. The experiences they have had and the suffering they have experienced in their own countries lead them to ask in their hearts: where is God and who is He?

Most Muslims know Jesus as the prophet Isa in the Koran. The goal of our activities is to love Muslims and enable them to see and experience Jesus in us. "We were waiting for someone to tell us about God."they say.

When one of the refugees feels called to convert, how do they act?

We ensure that, in our follow-up work, he learns the Word of God and the Gospel in greater depth, and subsequently learns the fundamentals of our faith as part of his preparation for baptism.

Have there been any incidents and do you fear that Muslim militants will disrupt your events or, worse, that participants will be persecuted?

-We have never experienced any aggression or disturbances. Muslims treat us with great respect and are very grateful for our invitation. We are not afraid, as a matter of principle, when we do what Jesus called us to do. 

Unfortunately, the persecution of converts is a reality in Germany and in Europe. Muslims who come to our follow-up work are also aware of this. 

What is the reaction of the "official churches"? For example, do they collaborate with bishops?

-Cooperation with parishes and priests is excellent. The reactions of the church hierarchy vary greatly: from benevolent and supportive to rejection. We are always glad to see more cooperation, commitment and practical help. 

Among many Christians, perhaps in the name of tolerance, "mission" has become almost an insult. What do you think about it from your experience? On your website you also talk about Christians who feel "the call of Jesus" to "preach the Gospel" What experiences have you had in this field? 

-"Woe is me if I do not proclaim the Gospel."we read in the first epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians (9:16). We live in an age in which Christians are told that defending a truth and claiming to proclaim it is improper or intolerant. In this debate, we often miss a clarification of the concept of tolerance.


-In the classical and original sense, tolerance means: "I put up with other people thinking and expressing themselves differently than I do on issues that are of utmost importance to me, especially religious ones.". Today, however, there is a different concept of tolerance. The definition of the new tolerance is that beliefs, values, lifestyles and notions of truth are all equal. There is no hierarchy of truth: "Your beliefs and mine are the same and all truth is relative." (Thomas A. Helmbock). A look at Jesus and his message brings clarity on this point.

They also go to convents to ask them to pray for "Elijah21 ". How important is prayer in their work?

-Prayer is the foundation of everything, of our whole being. The orientation to God, listening to his voice, the "letting oneself be guided" comes from the awareness that all action and all success comes from God... God is the one who fills the fishermen's nets. We just obey and go fishing. As a missionary work, we have our own prayer and worship team. Whenever we present the Jesus film we are supported throughout by the prayers of the host community and also by the prayers of many convents and other prayer communities.

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