“The Pew Research Forum expects the population of Muslims in the US to double in the next two decades. Muslims from around the globe are moving into our neighborhoods, working in the same companies, and studying alongside us in schools. This is an amazing act of God as He brings these precious people into our sphere of influence! Many of our Muslim neighbors are struggling with language barriers or are lonely after leaving family and familiarity behind in their home countries. Others are refugees who may be fearful or suspicious of American culture. Still others may be curious about Christianity and about Jesus. Whatever the case may be, Journey to Jesus will equip your church or small group to reach out to all types of Muslims, build meaningful relationships with them, and effectively point them toward Christ.”
Journey to Jesus is a six-session video curriculum designed for use by Christian churches, family groups, small study groups or Sunday School classes. The purpose of this set of DVDs designed by the Muslim Ministries Program at Wheaton College and published by Tyndale Publishers is two-fold.
First is to educate us about the Muslim culture, providing a brief historical background of Islam and its growth, and common beliefs so that we can view each individual as a person God created in His image. Overcoming misinformation and erroneous assumptions with facts will help us to be better neighbors, coworkers, fellow students and friends.
The second purpose is to equip Christians to lovingly reach out to Muslims within our sphere of contact to discern their spiritual needs, find the common bridge between our belief systems and gently lead them to Christ when the Holy Spirit leads us. Its purpose is to help us avoid butting heads needlessly, inadvertently closing doors of communication.
Each session revolves around a video-based teaching slide show presentation and either the first half or second half of a scenario to view. Sessions one and two feature ways we can extend Christ- centered hospitality to our Muslim neighbors.
Sessions three and four present two co-workers, Larry and Azim, who become friends, sharing meals at lunch and talking about life. The teaching slide show introduces the viewers to Muslim beliefs and customs. It helps us learn how to use the diversity of our beliefs to share our faith.
In sessions five and six, two college students are assigned to each other to explore the other’s worldview. As they dig deeper, the sessions become strained. The teaching slide show helps us understand how to share our faith with a devout Muslim friend.
Each of the six sessions are accompanied by a Leader’s Guide, Participant Handouts, and Extra Materials. These can be obtained by opening the DVDs on a computer, finding the PDF files and printing them. The first DVD has sessions 1-3 while the second DVD has sessions 4-6. Each session is meant to last from 50 to 60 minutes, including discussions based on questions from the leader’s guides
and the teaching slide shows.
I am quite impressed with this curriculum. The intent from those who designed it was to teach us to reach out in a compassionate manner. It is reminiscent of the Friendship Evangelism movement of quite a few years ago. This method employs the Bridge approach, where we spend time finding commonalities in our initial exchanges. In other words, we are encouraged to be friends first. Misconceptions and fear can often hinder this process, so the series will be helpful in setting us at east. Armed with information, we won’t be so apt to blunder our way into a friendship without ruining it.
Another aspect I like about this DVD set is how thorough the presented information is. Obviously we can’t learn all the nuances of the various groups and subsets of Islam that exist, but the overview should provide us with enough to give us insight. The extra material provides us the do’s and don’ts, things to say, topics to avoid, how to act, to dress and so on when practicing hospitality. The extra materials also provide us with some apologetics and guidelines on what to answer when Muslims express objections about certain aspects of Christianity. There were many parts of this session that I didn’t know. I found the suggestions how to share the Gospel with Muslims enlightening.
I think this program is flexible enough to fit nearly any type of Christian group. I would love to see a copy of this program in every pastor’s study or library. Communities of Muslims are expanding throughout the country, even into rural and small communities. We should be prepared to offer friendship and hospitality to our new neighbors.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. through their Blog Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in