God’s Plan for Our Muslim Neighbors...and Us
If we are able to see the Muslim women in our communities through Jesus’ eyes, we might have a better sense of why we get to see them at all! From the beginning of time, God planned that He would always, until the end of time, be seeking and saving the lost. (Luke 19:10) More than a full tenth of all the world’s people are Muslim women, most who have never once heard adequately about Jesus.
God is drawing many of those women from restricted regions to contexts of freedom, visibly making them our neighbors for a very specific reason.
So that those who seek God can find Him...in us! (Acts 17:26-27).
Satan’s Lost Cause
Satan has labored hard throughout history to keep Muslims and Christians isolated from one another. He uses fear and confusion to keep us distant. He would like for Christ-followers to think that the unknowns are too great...the risks too real...the job too rigorous...the successes too minimal to warrant any significant involvement on our part.
But Satan’s is a lost cause. God’s answer to Satan’s limitations is His Church! It is you and I, together--in twos, tens, hundreds and thousands--all called to the same privilege of serving Muslims the Truth of God’s Word. God joins us individuals to be part of this His body, as much for the sakes of our own spiritual growth and fruitfulness as for the sakes of Muslim women who will draw near to Him. As women together, we cherish the privilege of one another in this journey that walks Muslim women to Jesus, and us into deeper relationship with God.
Say Hello Care Groups as Mission
Say Hello: Serving Muslim Women invites and helps Christian women love Muslim women like Jesus does. Say Hello Care Groups are points of contact whereby Christian women who are outreaching to Muslim women—or would like to do so—regularly come together for spiritually focused and directed times of learning, sharing, planning and interceding for said friendships. The size of these groups is determined by the participants; a group can be as small as 2, or as large as you’d like to have it.
These care groups are meant to be organic, so that as women outreach and friendships grow, group identity can more intimately serve the needs, successes and even disappointments individual women will experience. By providing a somewhat templated start for a Say Hello care group, we hope to initiate sisterhoods in local churches everywhere that exist primarily so that Muslim women might have greater opportunity to know Jesus. We say “primarily” because we know from experience that when Christian women commit to Christ-like friendships with Muslim women, multiplied blessings follow, in multifaceted form.
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You might or might not have a crisp, clear vision for your Say Hello care group, but you know that your focus is sharing God’s love with Muslims. If you start with that focus, whether or not you and your care group feel entirely prepared for what’s next, you can count on God’s promise to bless Muslims through you. (Acts 3:25)
You may intentionally want to start small, but if you start with numbers that exceed the space around a single table, we suggest that you think about facilitating groups within groups. Create space for small group engagement that can receive direction from larger group facilitators, but purpose ahead of time to order things in a way that encourages cross-table pollination and participation. You want to create community that regardless of group size will foster a genuine sense of one-ness and ease.
Compassion for Muslim Women
Ultimately the goal of your care group is missional: its mere existence is based on God’s desire that every Muslim know the Truth about Jesus. Christ-like compassion will compel you to love Muslim women like Jesus does; you are called to care for their souls, and you will care for their physical felt needs. You will learn that there are many ways to do both, and seldom are they separate. It is a kind of caring that you will grow into, with increased joy and fruit.
Care Group Relationships
Central to God’s mission is also our care for one another. Outreach to Muslim women is a joy-filled privilege; however, it is also a spiritual battle. Your care group will be the place where you bear one another’s joys and burdens in spirit and in deed. From the beginning, capacitate your group for caring that grows deeper and dependencies that grow sweeter in the struggles and in the victories.
Meeting Content and Calendar
You’ll enjoy care-basing your meeting content (see Key Objectives, below), by starting with considerate calendaring. Decide how often you might like to meet and be consistent, but prioritize the group’s preferences and don’t force meetings for the sake of having them. You will probably find that a monthly meeting is adequate and favorable, but you may choose to meet more often or less frequently. Likewise, leave room for spontaneous gatherings. This will help your group maintain its “care” identity, enhancing capacity for positive impact.
Social Media Helps
Consider the advantages of keeping a secret group Facebook page, to communicate logistical matters as well as to provide a place for extended interaction and fellowship. *Do not include Muslim friends on this page; use it solely to enhance care-group relationships and resourcing.
Regardless of how small or how large your group is, you will want to order your meetings around goals that you might even call care-group non-negotiables. These will determine the take-away from your times together and will set guidelines for the very strengths that will inform the relationships individuals develop with their Muslim friends.
Every meeting should do the following, with order that is flexible and best fits the group’s needs and foci:
Inspire - Prayerfully and care-fully plan every aspect of your time together to foster a sense of expectancy, joy and hope for everyone present. Remember from the very beginning, and in every meeting after—that every Muslim must know the Truth about Jesus, that Jesus is the only one who saves, and the He is always greater. We get to love Muslims and proclaim the good news with every possible word and deed. We get to rely on the Holy Spirit for His help and anointing upon our lives in friendship, but the work of salvation is Christ’s alone.
Say Hello: Serving Muslim Women will be ready with suggestions for inspirational direction.
Inform - Creatively focus your meeting around a topic that informs specifically about Islam and our Muslim friends’ faith practices. Compare and contrast the beliefs and practices with our own, so that from the beginning we might “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks [us] to give the reason for the hope that [we] have.” 1 Peter 3:15
Say Hello: Serving Muslim Women will be able to provide informational leads for topics that will in very practical ways inform friendships and prepare you for relevant witness.
Engage - Prioritize 100% participation in every way possible in all of the evening’s aspects. You will enable this by taking a collaborative approach to all learning and experiencing. Unless there is a participant who has ample experience with outreach to Muslims, most of the group will be on a learning curve that creates healthy opportunity for interdependence and joint learning. That’s a great place to be!
One of the first things you’ll learn is that hospitality is key to ministry to Muslims, especially women. Every time your care group meets, you should plan on sharing snacks or perhaps even meals together. What you practice around a Say Hello table will help to prepare you for what you’ll experience in your Muslim friend’s home. You’ll want to engage in hospitality-type fellowship every time your group meets, not just because you’ll be learning about hospitality values and practices in Muslim friendships, but because it will help to create the kind of community that will someday include Muslim women who have met Jesus through your friendships.
Say Hello: Serving Muslim Women stands ready to recommend activities and recipes that will enlarge opportunity for practical engagement with care group members as well as Muslim friends.
Resource - Make sure everyone leaves with something in hand that reinforces the session’s inspirational, informational and practical application components.
Say Hello: Serving Muslim Women will help you resource your care group for onward inspiration, continued learning and deepening friendships with Muslim women.
Call to Action - Create a context that nurtures intentional action plans for fruitful ministry and personal growth. Strive to make it so that every woman leaves with a plan in hand, which she will purpose to complete before the next care group meeting. There, she’ll be able to report her experiences—the challenges she encounters as well as the victories she enjoys.
Say Hello: Serving Muslim Women will help you plan creatively and realistically for continued learning and engaging Muslims in Christ-like friendships.