The Chicagoland Lutheran Muslim Mission Association (CLMMA) was created in June, 2010 at Peace Lutheran Church in Lombard, Illinois by the Pastors of Peace Lombard, St John LaGrange, and Trinity Roselle – all part of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Also included at the original meeting were a representative from the LCMS Northern Illinois District; and several interested lay people. Since then several other churches and individuals have provided significant support to the mission’s ministry. The name of the ministry has been shortened to Salam Christian Fellowship (Salam).
Salam’s purpose is to administer and maintain an ongoing Christian evangelism ministry to Muslims and Middle Eastern immigrants in the greater Chicagoland area. Salam’s objective is to bring these immigrants to the saving grace of Christ Jesus through His teaching and baptism.
Under the leadership of Pastor Hesham Shehab, Salam ministry teaches, respects, and does not act contrary to the doctrine and practices of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). To that end, Salam accepts without reservation:
- The Scriptures of the Old and New Testament as the written Word of God and the only rule and norm of faith and of practice.
- All the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church as a true and unadulterated statement and exposition of the Word of God…
- All other confessional standards of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod
- All leadership and staff are responsible for maintaining these doctrinal standards in all aspects of Salam’s ministry to Muslims and Middle Eastern immigrants.
Creating the environment for this enlightenment involves a variety of regular services and individual/group meetings as well as ministering to some of the immigrant’s basic acculturation needs. Under Pastor Hesham’s leadership, Salam has not only shared the love of Christ by giving Muslim and Middle Eastern refugees the Bread of Life, it also has a social ministry for helping with some of the basic needs for immigrants entering the United States for the first time by providing social services, transportation, translations, furniture, and counseling. Bringing Middle Eastern Muslims from 8 different countries to Christ is a unique process that differs from the people originating from elsewhere in the world. Most Middle Easterners are tribal in their origins and loyalties. Therefore, it takes time for them to become comfortable in a new fellowship or a community of “friends” that will guide them to Christ. Salam is providing that comfortable, Christian community.
In addition to the weekly Salam Fellowship worship services at Peace Lutheran Church, Lombard that are attended by 20 to 30 adult Middle Easterners and 10 to 15 Western supporters, Pastor Shehab has established many other ministries and Christian services to the local Middle Eastern communities in both the Arabic and Farsi languages. Pastor Hesham is also a guest speaker to large and diverse audiences on the topic of Muslim conversions to Christ. Significant results of Salam’s efforts include in excess of thirty-five adult baptisms; a growing number of gatherings in other communities; a variety of biblical and educational classes, and the distribution of hundreds of Arabic translations of the Bible and Biblical audio/video tracts.
The Salam Christian Fellowship is the only LCMS-organized and viable Christian outreach ministry to Middle Eastern Muslims in the United States. As a result of Pastor Hesham’s preaching and teaching over the years, many Middle Easterners have moved on to other parts of the country taking with them the love and salvation in Christ Jesus and spreading that saving message wherever they go..
The following is a representative listing of some of the other ministries and outreaches that are currently part of Rev. Shehab’s and Salam’s ministry:
- Women’s Bible study groups at various locations
- Men’s Bible study groups at various locations
- Bible Study Retreats
- English as a Second Language (ESL) courses in Wheaton, Carol Stream, and Lombard
- Youth Programs and Bible Studies during Salam Fellowships and at other times.
- A ministry to the Muslim students at College of DuPage (COD) where Salam has a weekly “Followers of Jesus the Messiah” booth.
- Regular outreach meetings with Middle East Muslims on the north side of Chicago.
- Mentoring and meeting one-on-one to help new converts and newly arrived immigrants understand their faith and the US.
- Driving immigrants to Fellowships and other urgent personal destinations.
- Providing used furniture, household items, cars and other basic needs to newly arrived immigrants
- Providing financial and practical Acculturation and Assimilation support to newly arrived immigrants
- Identifying and training bilingual evangelism assistants to help spread the Salam ministry.
- Pastor Shehab’s regular preaching and teaching engagements at LCMS churches and national organizations throughout the area and sometimes at other locations throughout the country.
Pastor Shehab is the only salaried individual within the Salam ministry. The volunteers and donations from the various organizations and individuals to Salam are a critical part of expanding His Kingdom. Many of these donors and volunteers choose to be anonymous. A metric for the current Salam operating budget is that every generous donation of $3,000.00 represents approximately 2.0% of the current operating expenses for Salam. In addition, some individuals and organizations have provided designated support for the specific needs of some of Salam’s members.
We are grateful for the prayers and support that have provided for the growth of Salam’s ministry so far. The size and impact of the Salam ministry has grown significantly over the past 6 years. By the grace of God and the support of His people, we pray that Salam will continue to grow and reach even more Middle Eastern Immigrants with God’s Word and Salvation through Jesus Christ.