Friendship First

Friendship First is a course that helps Christians share Jesus with Muslims.
 
It is an interactive, non-specialist course of six-sessions, incorporating a set of DVDs and workbooks.
 
It enables Christians to approach their Muslim friends with confidence. It equips participants with the skills and resources to be an effective witness to Jesus.
 
Friendship First was developed out of Mahabba in its early days through the knowledge and experience of experts in our Network.
 
It has transformed the way Christians relate the gospel to the Muslims they come into contact with.
 
It is now part of The Friendship Trio group of resources, which leads Muslims from friendship, to faith, to discipleship all in the context of friendship with Christians.

 

Factsheet

  • A DVD course for churches and small groups to help the church be ready to receive believers from Muslim background
  • Six weeks – 90 minutes per session:
    1. Journeys to Jesus
    2. The pearl of great price
    3. Welcome to the family
    4. Being transformed
    5. A blessing to our churches
    6. Ambassadors for Jesus
  • The DVD includes many helpful interviews with believers from Muslim background
  • Cost of DVD course & book: £40 | Cost of book: £10 (the book can be purchased as a standalone)

Now is the time

  • Islam & Muslim people
  • Islam, a whole way of life

Muslim values and culture

  • Understanding culture

  • What matters to Muslims

Good news for our Muslim friends

  • What makes it ‘good news’?
  • Longing for assurance

Our Muslim friends

  • Muslim people in Britain
  • Building bridges of friendship

Field Trip

Visit to a local mosque

Ways to witness

  • What to say and how to say it
  • Telling your story

 

Next Steps

  • Helping new believers
  • What next from here?

FRIENDSHIP FIRST AND PRESENCE & ENGAGEMENT

The Church of England Presence & Engagement website referred warmly to the Friendship Course in its May 2015 newsletter, Anvil.

The relationship between Islam and Christianity in the UK is a complex one, and three articles in a journal can barely scratch the surface of that complexity.

It is undoubtedly true that violent Islamist inspired extremism is on the rise throughout the world. And it is equally true that the overwhelming majority of Muslims who live in the UK have no terrorist or violent intentions towards their fellow British citizens.

But so much more can, and should, be said.

The Church must face up to the reality of British Muslims engaging in acts of horrific violence both in the United Kingdom and throughout the world.

Questions of domestic violence, of gender selective abortion, of ghettoization and deliberate isolation from the wider community, as well as experience of Isalmophobia, heavy-handed policing, disproportionately high unemployment and educational drop-out rates are all pressing issues within Britian’s diverse Muslim communities.

These are all questions that the Church can, and should be helping answer.

We are called to love our enemies, to follow the pattern of the Good Samaritan who deliberately chose to respond to the need of a wounded fellow human being, paying no attention to his religious beliefs.

Carl Medearis and Steve Bell are two well-known Christians who speak clearly of the importance of displaying grace to our Muslim brothers and sisters as we share the love of Jesus Christ with them, and Interserve’s Friendship First course is an excellent resource for those wishing to take first steps in engaging positively with their Muslim neighbours.

This will not be an easy or straightforward process, but it is an urgent, pressing concern for today.

Anvil, the Anglican journal of theology and mission has devoted its latest issue to the topic of Islam in Britain.
 

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Joining the Family

‘Joining the Family’ is a six-session course to equip the church to ‘be family’ to new followers of Christ from a Muslim background.
 
Growing numbers of Muslims are choosing to follow Jesus Christ. They want to join Christ’s community, whether in British churches or in same-background fellowships.
 
We need to understand their needs, care for them and help them grow in Christ. And we want to learn from them.
 
The ‘Joining the Family’ course equips churches across the UK to meet this need. This is a ground-breaking initiative since nothing else like it exists.
 
The course comes on USB, so is ultra-portable, which comprises the sessions and video clips. There are also separate participant’s workbook and a facilitator’s guide to help run the course.
 
All in, church groups can easily run the course themselves without outside help!

 

What people are saying about the course

Broadening and challenging our ideas of our Christian lives
People having ‘brothers and sisters in Christ’ means the church will change
 

Joining the Family promo video

 
 

FAQs

What resources are available?

The Joining the Family book

The Joining the Family course pack

The Joining the Family website

Where can I get hold of the resource?

To get hold of your copy of ‘Joining the Family’ for your small group or church, please visit the Kitab bookshop.
 
There are a number of materials that make up the ‘Joining The Family’ resource:

  • Course Pack (£40.00) which contains everything you need to get the course up and running
  • A Facilitator’s Guide (£9.99) for those leading the course with groups
  • Participant’s Workbook (£9.99) for individuals on the course
  • ‘Joining the Family’ Book (£2.99) which gives the background to the course

 

Why is ‘Joining the Family’ needed?

Today in Britain growing numbers of Muslims are choosing to follow Jesus Christ. They want to join Christ’s community, whether in British churches or in same-background fellowships. We need to understand their needs, care for them and help them grow in Christ. And we want to learn from them.
 
The ‘Joining the Family’ course equips churches across the UK to meet this need. This is a groundbreaking initiative since nothing else like it exists. The course comprises DVD clips, a participants workbook and a facilitators guide so that church groups can run the course themselves without outside help.

 

Who is producing this course?

The ‘Joining the Family’ core group comprises of cross cultural experts and believers of Muslim background (BMBs), church leaders and disciplers connected with several mission agencies.
 
The production is by Carfax Media, with help from Elam Ministries, and the resources are published by Interserve.
 
The teaching content comes from 25 interviews with believers of Muslim background and experienced mentors speaking from the heart.

 

How is the course designed?

Course objectives are for local church members to:

  • Compassionately understand and explore issues that believers of Muslim background face, by listening carefully to them
  • Be equipped to welcome, care for, disciple and ‘be family’ for these believers
  • Consider how their church may be enriched through their insights, gifts and cultures

The course method combines film interviews with guided discussion in small groups. Each session ends with a practical learning activity to do before next time.
 
Course contains six sessions, covering the following topics:

  1. Journeys to Jesus (the testimonies of Muslims turning to Jesus)
  2. The Pearl of Great Price (the cost and joys of following Christ)
  3. Welcome to the Family (how local churches can ‘be family’ for these believers)
  4. A blessing for our churches (how we can benefit from what these believers bring us)
  5. Ambassadors for Jesus (believers relating to their Muslim families and communities)

Wherever possible these groups will include one or more believers of Muslim background so that others can learn directly from their insights and deepen the mutual friendships.

 

When will it be available?

Available now – find more information at www.joiningthefamily.org.

 

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Come Follow me

Come Follow Me is an in-depth discipleship course for new believers of a Muslim background.

It helps them to grow a strong identity as followers of Jesus while still caring for their Muslim families.

The course is part of The Friendship Trio, building on the Friendship First and Joining the Family resources, specifically helping new believers from the Muslim faith and community.

The course involves a combination of self-study, regular discussion with a mentor (or in a group) and practical learning tasks. Deep-level discipleship affects issues of belonging, worldview and behaviour.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

In what languages is the course book available?

At the time of writing, the only complete updated version is in English.

An earlier version of the course is available and ready in Dari. This is the Afghan form of Farsi and can be understood by Iranians, though the updated version of the course will be available in Iranian Farsi.

Draft translations of the earlier version are complete in Pashtu and Urdu but need editing. Translation has been started in Arabic.

For more information on these languages, or for permission to start translation in another language, please contact the team (see below).

 

How may the course book be obtained in different countries?

Please order it at www.lulu.com/shop/tim-green/come-follow-me/paperback/product-21011264.html.

Lulu is a ‘print-on-demand’ publisher which has printing outlets and local delivery services in several
countries.

On their website, open the flags icon to check which country is most convenient for you.

Later there will also be distribution through Amazon which has an even wider reach.

 

Is it available online or as a download?

The course book is not designed as a document to read off a screen.

Rather, it is a course book for the learner to write their responses, and then bring it along to the discussion time so that with the advisor they can discuss the practical application.

This process of active learning is a more effective way to learn than simply passive reading.

For these reasons there is no plan to make the course book available online.

Possibly a writeable version to use on a tablet may be considered later. However, the advisor’s guide will be freely available online once a website is launched.

 

Is the course suitable for oral learners?

Also, non-literate learners can memorise the Bible verses, discuss the pictures in the course book, and carry out the practical tasks.

However, the home study element does require the skills of reading and writing. For any learners who cannot read easily or at all, follow these guidelines:

  • For each of these people, find another member of the group to be their helper
  • Beforehand they will go through the lesson together, to help the non-reader (or slow reader) understand the main teaching
  • Then in the meeting they will sit together, and the helper will help them find the right place or picture in the book
  • The helper might be a member of the family, or another person
  • Remember that the non-readers in the group have as much experience of life as those who can read
  • Their opinion is just as valuable. Make sure they have equal opportunity to contribute to the discussion so that all members can benefit
 

Does the course refer directly to Islam?

The Course Book does not mention Islam directly.

This is partly for security reasons, since it was originally written for believers in a very restrictive Muslim country, where anything in print which might be thought critical of Islam could endanger them (this is less of a problem in the West).

It was also because the focus is not on Islam but on following Jesus and his teaching. However, the course deliberately tackles issues which arise for Christ’s followers from Muslim background.

There is also limited use of Muslim terms as a bridge to take the learners to a new Christian meaning, as explained
in the section ‘Muslim Terms and Cultural Issues’.

This Advisor’s Guide does refer more directly to Islam, in order to guide advisors who might lack the cultural background, and also because we assume there won’t be a security issue.

However, if necessary we could consider producing an edition for use in contexts where it would not be helpful to mention Islam.

Please contact the team if you think such an edition is needed.

 

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