Jeff Burns is a peace and human rights activist. He has been active in building bridges of reconciliation, peacemaking and friendship between Muslims and Christians in the U.S. and overseas for the last ten years. Jeff served as the East Coast Regional Director for Peace Catalyst International for four years. PCI focuses on reconciliation and peacemaking in the way of Jesus.
Recently, he played a key role along with his friend Imam Abdel Azim helping to secure Meriam Ibrahim’s release from prison in Sudan. Jeff is convinced that most of the problems in the world could be solved over a few meals if we would go to the people we perceive to be our enemies, listen to them, talk about Jesus, and put some of their interests above our own.
From 2005 until 2009, Jeff was a regular featured writer in the Muslim newspaper IQRAA, a publication of the Muslim American Public Affairs Council of North Carolina. He has been invited to speak in mosques and was a guest speaker at the Muslim American Society Annual Convention in 2009.
Prior to his calling as a peacemaker Jeff served as a senior pastor for 18 years. He went on to become a part of the house church movement in the U.S. As a leader in the house church movement, Jeff served as an elder in the Sojourners Simple Church Network in Raleigh, NC for nine years where he started an intentional community that focused on peacemaking with the local Muslim community.
When he left the pastorate in 2004, he went on to become a certified Life and Relationship Coach. Currently, he is working on advanced coaching certifications in leadership and success coaching with Jack Canfield and John Maxwell. In addition to running his successful coaching practice, Carolina Coastal Coaching, he uses his coaching skills in peacemaking. Through the years Jeff has learned that coaching not only helps individuals, but also transforms and brings diverse people from other faith backgrounds together as friends who normally would have nothing in common. It has been his experience that once they become friends, start eating together, sharing their faith and culture with each other, then they are able to settle their differences and work together for the common good. Coaching works on so many levels.
His passion as a coach is to motivate people to align their dreams with God’s dream for true peace on earth in order to inspire, gather, and mobilize them to both save and change the world. He has friendships with leading Muslims in various cities and is working with mosques and churches to form partnerships of peace and reconciliation.
Jeff is a graduate of Liberty University in Lynchburg Virginia with a Bachelor of Science in Pastoral Studies and Philosophy. He has an M.Div. from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest. He received a Doctorate of Ministry that focused on Christian/Muslim relationships from Regent University, in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Jeff believes that the greatest bridge of commonality between Muslims and Christians is in the teachings of Jesus. He has been proclaiming this message to both Muslims and Christians after he discovered two significant events: finding that Jesus is mentioned 93 times in the Qur’an, and a supernatural encounter with a Muslim boy named Omar (see the famous story here How A Muslim Child Saved An Evangelical Minister’s Soul )
He lives in Carolina Beach, North Carolina with his lovely wife of 29 years Oceana, and their eight year old beautiful, energetic daughter Olivia. When Jeff is not working and traveling, his greatest joys are walking with his wife on the beach and body boarding with his daughter at low tide.
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About the Image at the Top of this Blog
Dave and Sherry Hall were in West Africa helping university and medical students follow Jesus, as well as doing small business development and family counseling. Their kids were about 6 and 4 and they were living in Ghana at the time the photo was taken. They were living in half a duplex in Accra, with 14 Ghanaians living in the other side.
On the day of the picture, Sherry found the five kids playing dress-up on their balcony with her clothing. That day, they had added a new twist. The Ghanaians had chalked their faces white. Dave and Sherry’s kids had charcoaled their faces black. Voila, kindred hearts and kingdom colors. These precious children were more interested in friendship and fun than anything else; color doesn’t divide them. They painted their faces so they could be the same as their friends! In their own childlike and playful way they model God’s Dream for us all and His desire for us to become a Beloved Community of love and friendship.