Network update

Note from the Network: January update

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Note from the Network

January update

We’re praying, believing and working for the gospel to spread through families and a whole community - for disciples to make disciples who make disciples. Why not here?

This is a big prayer of one Mahabba group going into 2019. Remarkable things are happening in the wider Muslim world - more Muslims have come to faith in Jesus in the past 25 years than in the previous 14 centuries combined! Why not here in the UK?

These monthly newsletters have been highlighting the four Es that describe the Mahabba network. Each local expression of Mahabba is Encouraging prayer and Enabling and Envisioning all Christians to Engage in love with Muslims.

We seek to envision the Christian community - all Christians, churches, church leaders - for God’s heart and purposes for the nations to be caught, for the church to see and seize the opportunities he has brought to our cities and towns.

Envisioning is happening in many ways - inspiring churches with stories of what God is doing, helping church leaders to strategise, to see their vision fulfilled for Muslims following Jesus, and to equip church members through courses and resources like Joining the Family:

Recognising that it’s important to find and serve alongside local church leaders who share the vision and are open to collaborate, I presented the vision of church based outreach to Muslims at the ‘Churches Together’ Leader’s Meeting in our borough. It was attended by more than 30 leaders of different churches who then launched a prayer initiative which meets weekly moving between various churches and has led to outreach to Muslims.
The Joining the Family course was superb – all the better for having equal numbers of Iranians and Brits! Some positive outcomes were – Brits seeing the importance of being family to BMBs, Iranians seeing church as theirs and beginning to take ownership of what happens, two of the Brits engaging with our Farsi-speaking fellowship and befriending newcomers. Others are asking when we are running the course again!
We are investing time in talking with church leaders and gaining local church ‘buy-in’. So far we have run training courses in three main churches.
I would recommend the Joining the Family course without hesitation as it helps us understand where those from Muslim background are coming from and this in turn helps us understand where and how we can help them grow in faith and integrate into the church.
In the coming year we want to pray for local churches to connect with our group and to see how we can serve and equip them in engaging with Muslims and making disciples.

Let’s keep sharing the stories. If you are not yet part of Discourse, Mahabba Network’s discussion forum, do sign up here. It’s the place to be for sharing and learning from one another.

This is an amazing time to be alive and partnering in prayer to see God’s purposes for Muslims fulfilled. Let’s pray this will be a fruitful year for us all, beyond all we ask or imagine.


This is part of a series of regular updates from all involved with the Mahabba Network. They will be published here on the blog, but the best way to stay up to date is to sign up for our newsletter; you will receive a prompt when the latest one is available. Previous updates can be found here.


Your turn

  • Pass this update on to those you know and encourage them to

  • We value your prayers for this and welcome your feedback here.

  • Feel free to leave any comments below or send them via the Contact Us page

  • Subscribe to the maillist so that you get further news as soon as it is published

Note from the Network: December update

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Note from the Network

December update

Christmas greetings to all across the Mahabba network! May we know, in a deeper way, Immanuel – the one who has ‘moved into the neighbourhood’ – for ourselves and our Muslim friends.

Friendships with Muslims have enriched my life beyond all I could ever have anticipated, and yet there was a time when I didn’t know how to start making connections. Mahabba creates a bridge across the chasm of the unknown, and can equip you to start friendships that will enrich your life and those of your new-found friends.
— Lynn Green, YWAM

At the heart of the Mahabba network vision is the enabling and equipping of all Christians. We certainly need experts and specialists - Mahabba draws on the understanding of those with deep cross cultural experience. But befriending Muslims can’t be the responsibility of just a few. We know it is through the everyday encounters of all Christians that Jesus will be made known to countless Muslim neighbours, colleagues and friends. Every local expression of Mahabba seeks to enable local Christians – help them to see the opportunities, grow in confidence, build bridges of friendship and share Jesus with Muslims. Here are a couple of quotes from the network:

At the beginning of this year we ran a Friendship First course in Watford with 10 people from one church who all had significant involvement with Muslims most weeks during the course, and many of those contacts are continuing. In January, we are going with a second course.
‘How to Share your Faith with your Muslim Neighbour’ is a booklet and half day training. The training, which we have run in London, includes testimony, teaching and insights on how to answer the common questions asked by Muslims. The goal is to initiate friendships in our workplace and neighbourhood and share our faith effectively.

These are just two of the courses and resources available. Find out more and think about planning a course or training with others near you in the new year.

https://www.mahabbanetwork.com/friendship-first

The booklet is downloadable free at https://www.mahabbanetwork.com/bookshelf/share-faith-muslim-neighbour

A means for learning from one another across the network is the on-line forum – Mahabba Discourse. This will be fully operational from 1st Jan and we invite you to sign-up now…

There are many ways equipping is happening and it would be great to hear what you have tried – what training has worked well and not so well. Please add a comment below.


This is part of a series of regular updates from all involved with the Mahabba Network. They will be published here on the blog, but the best way to stay up to date is to sign up for our newsletter; you will receive a prompt when the latest one is available. Previous updates can be found here.


Your turn

  • Pass this update on to those you know and encourage them to

  • We value your prayers for this and welcome your feedback here.

  • Feel free to leave any comments below or send them via the Contact Us page

  • Subscribe to the maillist so that you get further news as soon as it is published

Note from the Network: November update

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Note from the Network

November update

The ministry of Mahabba is preparing the ground, the hearts of dear friends from Muslim background - whether long term citizens or recent refugees. It’s happening through the cry of intercession breaking up hard ground and through friendships of trust being formed - building foundations on which the Lord can do a great work.

This recent reflection shared by a UK missions leader is encouraging. We don’t always see the results of our praying, our reaching out in love - but we can be sure God is at work and responding to the prayers of his people. He’s moving in Muslim communities, working in hearts and drawing people to himself. Be encouraged! Our sowing in prayer and in love will reap a harvest.

Last month’s update introduced the restated Mahabba vision:

Loving all Muslims - A relational network giving Muslims the opportunity to find and follow Jesus

  • Encouraging prayer

  • Enabling all Christians

  • Envisioning the Christian community

  • Engaging with Muslims

Mahabba, in the first place, is about encouraging prayer - helping to grow regular persistent prayer for Muslims. This happens primarily through:

  • Helping to start and support local prayer networks.  There are now 60, and growing, local networks of prayer and ministry

  • Sharing ‘fuel’ for prayer.  We can encourage, build faith and give thanks together through sharing across the network our testimonies and reports of God at work. We can stand together to pray for new initiatives, specific needs and current struggles. The new Discourse on-line forum will be a great place for this to happen from the new year. Also look out for the new Jumaa prayer updates coming in the new year

  • Ideas and models for prayer.  A challenge for us all is keeping prayer focused and alive, and we need different ways to do that. Here are a few experiences from one local network: 

We are finding our prayer times more God-centred through building in more worship, intentionally making time to listen for God’s priorities before praying those back to him, and praying scripture - applying God’s word to pray for different situations. We’ve established a pattern for town-wide prayer - fortnightly meetings with people from five or six churches . This we’ve extended to termly prayer gatherings hosted by each of those churches in turn, the most recent taking over a Sunday evening service with around 80 attending. Annually during Ramadan a prayer concert attracts a larger number still. These bigger events have served to draw more to the fortnightly prayer times.

Maybe something there could be helpful for your situation.  May all we do be grounded in fervent prayer.

These updates will reflect more on the 4Es (encourage, enable, envision, engage) in coming months. Do add your thoughts and comments below. It would be great to hear something about prayer for you locally - struggles as well as successes. We want to be real in relating!


This is part of a series of regular updates from all involved with the Mahabba Network. They will be published here on the blog, but the best way to stay up to date is to sign up for our newsletter; you will receive a prompt when the latest one is available. Previous updates can be found here.


Your turn

  • Pass this update on to those you know and encourage them to

  • We value your prayers for this and welcome your feedback here.

  • Feel free to leave any comments below or send them via the Contact Us page

  • Subscribe to the maillist so that you get further news as soon as it is published

Note from the Network: October update

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Note from the Network

October update

The main take-aways for those attending the recent ‘Engage’ training day in Edinburgh were: to be more bold; more intentional; to just go for it; seize the moment; and be less afraid in stepping out and speaking up. This is so encouraging and so central to what Mahabba is about – ordinary Christians (not that such a person exists!), all Christians, taking every opportunity to ‘sow’ widely and befriend Muslims. 

A few weeks ago we mentioned the Mahabba vision review which has been on-going across the summer. Thank you to many - local coordinators, regional facilitators, trustees and others connected (and not connected) with Mahabba - for valuable input.

We were seeking greater clarity and focus in restating what the network is about. We felt God’s clear confirmation that Mahabba has a unique and strategic place in his purposes and of the distinctives and objectives we should hold and pursue. It’s more than six years since the network was formally launched and we’re grateful for all God is doing - yet sensed his push to go again with renewed expectation.

Loving all Muslims - this ‘strapline’ highlights an overriding value for all we do - in prayer, in reaching out, in discipling precious Muslims… There will be many and varied approaches across the network but it’s always in love and with respect that we engage Muslims and their communities.

A relational network giving Muslims the opportunity to find and follow Jesus - here is a restated vision-mission statement. Mahabba is not an organisation or agency, rather a network where there is sharing, mutual encouragement and support, relationship and resourcing. Our desire is that Muslims have the opportunity to discover Jesus for themselves and decide to follow him.

The vision is worked out through:

  • Encouraging prayer - helping to grow regular persistent prayer for Muslims  

  • Enabling all Christians - helping Christians to see the opportunities, grow in confidence, build friendships and share Jesus with Muslims 

  • Envisioning the Christian community - inspiring Christians with what God is doing and helping church leaders see their vision fulfilled for Muslims following Jesus

  • Engaging with Muslims - building bridges with local Muslim communities, reaching out in love, sharing Jesus and making disciples who reach their own community

We’ll expand on each of these four Es in the coming months with stories of how they are being worked out across the network, seeking to encourage greater sharing and learning from one another.    

Please feel free to add below more of your thoughts and reflections.

Look out for news of the new Mahabba online forum coming soon. Replacing The City, it will enable secure discussion, sharing of ideas and questions, news of resources, courses and events…


This is part of a series of regular updates from all involved with the Mahabba Network. They will be published here on the blog, but the best way to stay up to date is to sign up for our newsletter; you will receive a prompt when the latest one is available. Previous updates can be found here.


Your turn

  • Pass this update on to those you know and encourage them to

  • We value your prayers for this and welcome your feedback here.

  • Feel free to leave any comments below or send them via the Contact Us page

  • Subscribe to the maillist so that you get further news as soon as it is published

Note from the Network: Lift up your eyes

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Note from the Network: 

This is part of a series of regular updates from the leadership team within the Mahabba Network. They will be published here on the blog, but the best way to stay up to date is to sign up for our newsletter; you will receive a prompt when the latest one is available. Previous updates can be found here.

 

Lift up your eyes

A Mahabba update from the leadership team – August 2018

A Mahabba update for everyone involved with Mahabba. 

1. Introduction

‘Lift up your eyes’, was the title and theme of Mahabba regional gatherings this year – to be inspired by what we’re seeing God doing among Muslims and encouraged and equipped in hearing from Mahabba groups in the regions.

These were great events with very positive feedback from attendees and we would love to see more gatherings of this kind.

Total numbers were well up on attendance at the national gathering in 2017 and learning from one another in ways like this is so much part of why the network exists.

Here are some reports and quotes.


2. South and West event in Gloucester with Georgina and Phil S

Despite a few practical hitches the day worked well in drawing together new and existing friends and other networks.

There was a great buzz of conversation going on throughout.

A highlight and standout impression was of people getting to know about things happening closer to home and hearing from people who are not specialists or ‘professionals'.

This is what Mahabba is about.

Stories of what people are doing as part of their everyday lives are encouraging and need to be heard.

So often Christians have contact with Muslims but don’t do anything with them because they are lacking confidence or don’t know where to start.

Days like this can be so helpful to take inspiration from others in taking steps towards Muslims.

Some commented that they wish they'd invited others – there’s always next time!


3. London event with Chas

More than 60 attended, mostly from London but also from a bit further afield.

We heard encouraging stories from eight different London Mahabba prayer groups.

Some are still small and struggling with lack of interest from churches.

Yet they also told amazing stories of running successful 'Meetings for Understanding', of church leaders getting involved, evangelistic events being hosted and engagement with Muslims in their communities and local Mosques.

We shared on the different resources available to help the groups engage in reaching out, sharing good news and making disciples (such as Friendship First, Come Follow Me, Joining the Family, Al Massira, Discovery Bible Studies…).

A successful day.


4. North event in Oldham with Ted

About 60 people came from across the North, from Liverpool in the west and Hull in the East.

Steve, John, Deborah and Phil R were among the contributors and the event was greatly enhanced by the presence of the Resonance Band leading multilingual worship.

As always, for many participants it was hearing from other Mahabba groups that was the main encouragement.

So three quite different events but with the same outcomes – people inspired, encouraged and equipped for renewed commitment to prayer and reaching out locally.

We would love to hear from you how something from the event you attended spoke to your situation – please see below to submit feedback.

There are more gatherings to follow; first for Birmingham and the Midlands on 13th October - ‘Joining the Dots’, connecting and equipping the church to reach out to Muslims.

See below to find out more.


5. Vision Update

We are making really good progress with the Mahabba vision process.

We’ll come back with more next month and look forward to hearing more of your thoughts.


Thank you so much for your prayers and have a good summer.

Bryan Knell on behalf of Mahabba Board and Executive Team

 

Your turn

  • Pass this update on to those you know and encourage them to

  • We value your prayers for this and welcome your feedback here.

  • Feel free to leave any comments below or send them via the Contact Us page

  • Subscribe to the maillist so that you get further news as soon as it is published

Note from the Network: clarity and focus

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Note from the Network: clarity and focus

This is the first of a series of regular updates from the leadership team within the Mahabba Network. They will be published here on the blog, but the best way to stay up to date is to sign up for our newsletter; you will receive a prompt when the latest one is available.

 

Clarity and focus

A Mahabba update from the leadership team – July 2018

Welcome to the first of a new series of Mahabba Updates for everyone involved with Mahabba. 

1. Vision day

The trustees called a Vision Day with the aim of bringing clarity and focus to Mahabba’s vision, structure and operation. Understandably, this ‘day’ has developed into a process, which involved a very significant and well-led discussion on 12th June, but which is still ongoing.

All involved believe that the Mahabba initiative, emphasising a relational engagement with Muslims, is crucially important for our country at this time, for the UK church, for the long-standing Muslim community here and for Muslims arriving as refugees.   

We now have a better understanding of what we are about and over the summer we aim to identify the right words to express that clearly in both a comprehensive and memorable statements.  This is crucial to achieving clarity and focus and we ask for your prayers.


2. Leadership

Since Gordon Hickson focused on the growth of Mahabba International, Mahabba UK has sought to function with leadership teams, but there have been misunderstandings and different expectations. We have decided to strengthen leadership in these ways:

  1. The Board will start the process of exploring leadership options and looking for the personnel needed to give long-term leadership

  2. The Executive Team (made up of the Board chair and treasurer, two facilitators and the Hub Manager) will provide day to day decisions about the organisation and provide leadership for Mahabba UK. Bryan Knell will lead the Executive Team, as a way of providing leadership in the short-term. (The Board recognises that it is not good practice for the chair of the trustees to lead the Executive Team in the long-term.)

  3. The Network Team of facilitators will engage with Mahabba’s network of groups in the UK and continue to connect with local coordinators in cities. This team will be led by Phil G


3. Finance

Mahabba is rapidly running out of money. Despite numerous applications, we have not had any significant grant income for several months. The trustees decided that recent experience suggests we cannot rely on, assume or plan for any grant income but need to reduce our expenditure to match the £1,000 that comes in regularly from individual donors.

The trustees have decided that from the end of June:

  • Facilitators will function on a self-supporting basis, although expenses will be claimable

  • The Hub Manager, Simon, will be reduced to one day a week

  • We cannot at this stage afford to hire a fundraiser

These decisions are inevitable if the trustees are to act responsibly, but it will bring financial difficulty and uncertainty to several people and some may feel they have to look for paid employment elsewhere.


Thanks for your interest and support. God is doing amazing things and it is a great time to be alive.

Pass it on to those you know and encourage them to join the distribution list here.

We value your prayers for this and welcome your input to bryanjknell@gmail.com.

Bryan Knell on behalf of Mahabba Board and Executive Team

 

Your turn

  • Please do leave any comments below, or send them privately to Bryan via his address above

  • Subscribe to the maillist so that you get further news as soon as it is published