Bread + Salt: A New AWO Ministry
It all started when I began asking some of these questions: How do we share our faith openly and regularly without burning bridges to the Arab-Muslim communities in Dearborn and abroad? How do we encourage fellow believers to remain genuine friends with Muslims even if they never choose to accept Christ? How do we build Christian-Muslim relations in Arab communities? Can we do interfaith dialogue while still holding true to our conviction about inviting people to follow Jesus? Can we do these things and also do community development at the same time? Can and should all of these things be done by a single ministry? Or should we focus on one and not all?
As we’ve slowly began to learn who we are as a ministry, God began showing us an incredible new way to engage with the local Arab-Muslim communities throughout the U.S. At first, we struggled with the ability to communicate it and build a reproducible structure. It seemed like a far-fetched vision but we knew God was calling us towards it. So we continued taking small steps.
While in Lebanon a couple months ago, God began to give us a framework and a clearer vision on how to do this. There is already work going on in this country that applies perfectly to our context. We learned a lot from the professors and staff of Arab Baptist Theological Seminary and the Institute For Middle East Studies. They were incredibly generous with their time and resources to help make this possible. This helped us greatly in forming a vision for a new ministry effort Arab World Outreach is looking forward to launching very soon.
Khebz wa Meleh. Or in English, Bread and Salt. This phrase comes from an ancient but still very relevant Arabic idiom that infers a covenant relationship built through a simple meal and a respectful conversation. For many years, this cultural practice has brought people together to resolve conflict or dissonance.
It’s a simple, yet incredibly powerful concept.
That’s our vision behind Bread+Salt. It is a 6 week facilitated dinner-dialogue that ends with working on an agreed upon social justice project together. But our hope is, these new relationships will continue beyond these 6 weeks. There are 3 primary things this ministry is designed to accomplish: it will help build meaningful friendships that may not have happened otherwise, it will make way for an organic environment to discuss faith openly, and it will resolve a social justice issue locally. All within a span of 2 months.
Here’s a quick snapshot of our 6 weeks together:
- Week 1: Faith & Identity
- Week 2: Faith & Worship
- Week 3: Faith & Adversity
- Week 4: Faith & Deeds
- Week 5: Brainstorm a Social Justice Project
- Week 6: Plan Social Justice Project
We are partnering with Rouge Church, in Dearborn, MI for our first trial run in the coming months. Shortly after, we will be making this program publicly available to local churches and campus ministries throughout the U.S. and Canada. We will be providing all resources, curriculum and training necessary to fully implement this in as many churches and campus ministries as possible.
Thank you for generously giving and advocating on behalf of Arab World Outreach as we continue to build meaningful connections in Arab communities world wide.