God is answering the prayers of many over years and now there are churches across the country grappling with the joy and the challenge of welcoming Believers from a Muslim background (BMBs) into the church ’family’. In order to assist us in this the Joining the Family Resource is available so that we begin to understand their needs, support them as they grow in Christ and learn how to be members of the family of God together.
Although our church is small, 60 all told, we have about 20 Iranian and 2 Afghan believers of Muslim background attending regularly. We decided to do the course six weeks in a row on a Sunday as ‘the service’ as we are very keen on everyone playing a part in the ‘welcome’ and the ‘family’.
Each week’s session started with coffee and croissants and we met, café style, around tables in the church. Through the elements of the teaching by video clip, Bible Study and discussion, as well as the opportunities to reflect and to pray for each other we certainly felt that we were both meeting with God and learning from His word. We all began to see how the decision to become a follower of Jesus means that we are given the opportunity, joy and challenge – for some a greater challenge than for others – of taking on a new identity. We also saw how God was forming us, as church, into a new community which more accurately reflects His Kingdom community where national boundaries or ethnicity no longer divide and where all can find a home.
I felt closer to a group who I had never actually talked with in any meaningful sense.
Highlights from the Joining the Family series were when we heard testimonies from our own new comers; British people had those “aha” moments of understanding a little of what it must mean to leave homeland and family for the sake of following Jesus; and the profound sense of commitment to each other as we shared communion together in thankfulness to Christ who has broken down the dividing wall and made us one.
We all agreed that food was an important factor in the glue which brings and keeps us together and comments on the feedback slips indicate that we have the joy of looking forward to more food, music and dance together. We want to learn and live the culture of Jesus and
we have a sense that seeing each other as ‘brothers and sisters in Christ’ means that the church will change to reflect more of what it means to be a Jesus family.
There were worries expressed about not wanting to offend each other; we see that we must learn to trust each other and we agreed that there needs to be good communication and dialogue about the changes which will need to occur. But the overwhelming message was that we are more anxious about taking the ‘easy’ path of not changing!
So as we meet together now and gradually add another Farsi song into the worship mix, listen to the Bible reading each week in English and Farsi and say the Lord’s Prayer simultaneously in our own mother tongues there is a new energy and
a new expectation as together we seek to be shaped by God and His Kingdom values.
Guest blog written by someone who has run the Joining the family course.
Click here to order Joining the Family now.