By Clara Hinton, NewsOK (Edmond, Okla.).
The Rev. Mateen Elass, senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Edmond, is leaving the pastorate to devote his time to preaching the Christian Gospel to Muslims. He also wants to help equip the Christian Church to effectively do the same.
The Rev. Mateen Elass looks back on his extraordinary faith journey with the firm conviction that the Lord has been preparing him his whole life for “such a time as this.”
Raised in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, in a Muslim home, Elass converted to Christianity in his early 20s while attending college in America.
Now the minister is preparing to return to his childhood roots, in a sense.
Elass, senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Edmond, is leaving the pastorate to devote his time to preaching the Christian Gospel to Muslims. He also wants to help equip the Christian Church to effectively do the same.
Sunday, Elass will preach his final sermon as leader of his church.
He said he loves his congregation but he must fulfill what he considers the calling of a lifetime.
“It was as if God said to me, ‘I’ve been preparing you for this all your life….I positioned you so that you have a platform and a perspective that very few other people have. I’ve shaped you for that,’” Elass said during a recent interview.
“This was so clearly a call from God for me.”
Coming full circle
Elass’ last day in the pulpit comes at a momentous time for First Presbyterian-Edmond.
He said the congregation is celebrating the church’s 125th anniversary Sunday with a Pentecost Picnic, a “big blowout celebration.”
Elass said he had been praying about his two callings — the pastorate and the desire to preach to the Muslim world — for about eight years but shortly before Palm Sunday, he heard the Lord tell him “it’s time” to turn his attention to full-time ministry to Muslims.