11 January 2017
Member of the month: Mahabba Network
This month we're featuring Mahabba Network who work to mobilise and engage Christians to pray for and reach out to Muslims in their local communities and around the world.
When and why was Mahabba Network founded?
Mahabba means "love" in Arabic. It was launched as a national relational network in September 2012, following the success of a simple prayer meeting in Oxford, which gathered ordinary Christians weekly from across the churches to pray for Muslims, and then equipped them to reach Muslims locally.
A national network of specialists in reaching Muslims had been gathering for many years, but had largely been unsuccessful in mobilising local churches and ordinary Christians to get involved. When they saw what was happening with Mahabba in Oxford, they encouraged Mahabba to expand the network nationally and to motivate and mobilise Christians into this wonderful mission.
What do you do?
Mahabba helps Christians engage with local Muslim people through prayer, care and understanding. The truth is that the actual mobilisation of Christians is normally determined by the level of support from the local church leaders. So we define a network as where the local city leaders in unity have championed a regular prayer meeting across the churches which has led to hundreds of Christians in unity being mobilised and equipped, through our Friendship First course, to reach Muslims locally.
We have just completed the newest equipping resource called Joining the Family, which is designed to change mindsets concerning the assimilation of Muslims into western churches. It's proven to be a unique resource, with so many Muslims coming to Christ.
We now have Mahabba Networks in 45 Cities across the UK, with another 10-15 embryo networks. It has also spread to France, Belgium, and Norway, is starting in Austria and some other European nations, and there are invitations to start in Korea, India, Australia, the United States and Canada, and South Africa! God's obviously up to something.
Why are you a member of the Evangelical Alliance?
To expand into all this, we need some respected evangelical Church leaders as great champions behind us, and some long term financial partners. We have found that the Alliance has been the best forum for sharing and networking, both within the UK, and in Europe with the European Evangelical Alliance, which has asked us to help mobilise European evangelical leaders.
How can Christians in the UK get involved?
The simplest way to be involved is to look at www.mahabbanetwork.com, which will help you find a local prayer group, find out about some of our resources, and learn how to partner with us financially to see Muslims come to Christ. If there is no group near you, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you create a local Mahabba group.
How can the Church be praying for the Muslim community?
One of our core messages is the power of united grassroots weekly prayer for Muslims. We have found that this regular focused and passionate prayer for local Muslims, as well as for Muslims around the world, has not only opened huge doors of opportunity for witness, with Muslims coming to Christ, but has also led many from local Mahabba groups to become full time missionaries.
People in the Muslim community are very hungry to have an encounter with God. Our love and friendship, backed by faithfully praying for their eyes to be opened to the truth, is definitely having an impact in their community. So many are having dreams and visions of Jesus: it is our prayer and then contact that often is the key to them coming to Christ. The majority of those who come to faith talk about the impact on their lives, of seeing Jesus in the lives of Christians who take time to relate to them.
The current edition of idea is all about faith and belief and features Mahabba Network and SAT-7 explaining how Christians can best connect with Muslims.