Discipling believers in the Arab world
Muhammad went through the motions of becoming an imam—he studied the Qur’an and was mentored by another imam.
Something was missing though. He didn’t feel at peace as he studied in the southern part of Morocco. He asked questions of his mentor, but he received no answers.
“Continually, he felt like he was far away from God,” said Eric, the director of PALM, which disciples believers and trains church leaders in the Arab world.
Despite this unsettled feeling, he became an imam. That was until he got to the point when he felt like he couldn’t do it anymore.
One evening he prayed, asking God for the truth. That night he dreamed Jesus came to him saying, “Muhammad, I am the truth you’re seeking.”
He woke up and dedicated his life to Jesus. His wife rejected him and took their two boys with her when she left. In the small town where he lives, he was attacked several times and his brothers tried to kill him.
“Through that, he faithfully proclaimed Christ – in his actions as well as his words,” Eric said.
Muhammad also looked for ways to grow in his faith. He started going through Progressing Together, the discipleship curriculum developed by PALM. The Progressing Together material was created by Muslim-background believers for new Muslim-background believers.
He is now a pastor. He’s growing in his understanding of God and proclaiming God’s goodness to others.
“And through this faithfulness, through this maturity, through this process his wife became a believer, his children became believers,” Eric said. “I think that’s just a tremendous testimony to the power of the gospel.”
Muhammad, who is now in his late 70s, is continuing into the next level of the Progressing Together training.
Making Mature Disciples
PALM’s goal is to make mature disciples who are proclaiming the gospel to the people around them. The ministry focuses on places with no historic church. The team’s vision is to enable people in the Arab world to live out their faith despite persecution and rejection from family and friends. PALM’s material helps them understand who they are in God’s eyes and how they are to live.
Thousands of believers in the Arab world have gone through Progressing Together, PALM’s discipleship material.
After more than 40 years of ministry, the team has decided it’s time to give the curriculum an update. It’s good content, as you can see from Muhammad’s story, but they’ve received feedback that they should make it more engaging, including adding video. That’s where MOTION comes in.
Eric said more people are accessing material like Progressing Together on their smartphones and computers. And this isn’t just the younger generation. People across age groups in the Arab world (and really around the globe) are accessing videos regularly.
We’ve seen it too. Our ministry exists because 84.5% of people who are unreached by the gospel live in countries that claim YouTube as their No. 1 or No. 2 most-visited website.
Animating Discipleship Stories
Videos…what else? 🤷 😉 After all, we’re content creators. We’re creating videos to introduce each of the curriculum’s 12 sections. These animated videos will depict stories of real people from a Muslim background and their journey to faith. The curriculum includes topics on the church, persecution, Christian ethics and spiritual warfare.
The series will follow seven new believers as they learn how to live out their faith. Each one lives in a different part of the Arab world. It will show these new believers as they learn about the foundations of faith, transformed relationships, forgiveness and reconciliation.
Creating content for another culture can be challenging but we work closely with the in-country team to ensure what we create fits the context.
“The illustration part has been challenging because I’ve never tried to illustrate something for the Arab culture in a modern setting,” said Kayla Schlipf, a MOTION illustrator. “With a past project, it was Bible characters and a historical setting. There is a lot of imagery that’s been created with Bible stories, so you have a sense of where to start. With this project, it’s a totally different setting and modern.”
Kayla’s embracing the challenge. You can check out some illustrations from the series below.
Disciple a New Generation
We can’t wait to disciple more people like Muhammad. This curriculum with the added video component will disciple a new generation of believers in the Arab world — where there is no historic church. People living in this context need resources like Progressing Together to enable them to live out their faith despite persecution and rejection from family and friends.
Join us in sharing the gospel and discipling believers through video.