Refreshed vision, renewed expectation
Last year many of us contributed to a review of the Mahabba vision, seeking greater clarity and focus for the Network. In summary Mahabba, wherever it’s found, exists
‘to see ministry among people of Muslim heritage become a normal part of church life – it is a relational network encouraging prayer, enabling all Christians, envisioning the Christian community and engaging with Muslims’.
Work is continuing putting flesh on the bones of these words and this is a good time to expand on the vision and hear more from the network about how it is being worked out in practice.
Ministry among Muslims a normal part of church life – this is the vision, the picture of the future, we’re looking to, believing and working for. One church leader puts it like this:
“If you’d told me eight years ago that one day almost a quarter of our congregation would be people from a Muslim heritage, I’d have laughed in disbelief. Back in 2011 we took a risk. Having planted a small intercultural church in the city centre, we felt God leading us to bring the plant back into the sending church. We were joined by some returning missionaries and, with their help, the tiny handful of believers from a Muslim background began to grow.
Not everyone in our predominately white, middle class, congregation was enthusiastic about the changes. You might be greeted at the door with a warm Afghani handshake, or served coffee by a smiling group of Kurdish young men. Occasionally we would include a song from Iran in our worship. However, we were convinced that we were on a journey that reflected the heart of God. We taught from the books of Ruth and Acts about the importance of welcoming foreigners into God’s household. We listened month by month to baptism testimonies telling how Jesus is drawing people from the middle east to himself through dreams, visions and miracles. Gradually God has softened our hearts and deep cross-cultural friendships have developed.
There’s still a way for us to go, but as a church we’re not only beginning to reflect the diversity of the city around us; we’re also beginning to taste the rich cultural blend of the heavenly Jerusalem.”
Could you pause and pray now for a local church you know - that they will set out on that journey of prayer, welcome, bridge building, friendship and disciple-making. In the coming months these Network Updates will continue to unpack more of the vision.
Please share your thoughts, experiences or expectations on the Discourse discussion thread below or add a comment below.
May God give us renewed expectation as we catch more of his heart and journey together.
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Phil is a member of the Dashboard Circle team, with a particular focus on national development.