01 May 2014
New resource responds to Asians asking questions about Jesus
Churches being asked questions about their faith from their Asian neighbours are to be equipped through a new resource from the South Asian Forum (SAF) of the Evangelical Alliance.
The Discovering Jesus Through Asian Eyes course is designed to help answer enquiries for more information about Jesus from Asian communities.
The eight-week course, to be launched on 14 May at a ceremony attended by key church leaders across London, is based on the second edition of the Alliance-produced booklet, Jesus Through Asian Eyes,and is published by The Good Book Company. It will also have a dedicated Discovering Jesus website. The course is the first of its kind exploring key questions that the main religions of the South Asian and East Asian Diaspora have about Jesus Christ and the Christian faith.
These resources will help churches to answer questions that Asians of other faiths have about Jesus in a culturally appropriate way. The new booklet and course will initially be available to churches and Christian organisations in the UK, US, Canada and Australia.
In the UK there are a huge number of people who are either first or second generation immigrants, or whose family roots are firmly within an Asian culture. According to the census data for the UK in 2011, almost seven per cent of the population identifies itself as Asian or Asian British: nearly 4.5 million people.
Steve Clifford, general director of the Evangelical Alliance, said: "Asians are a vibrant part of our British cultural landscape, and many churches feel ill-equipped and uncomfortable about reaching out in friendship to people we should be welcoming. I have heard many stories about how open people from many different South Asian backgrounds are to learn more about the Christian faith."
Since the launch of the first edition of Jesus Through Asian Eyes, published by the Evangelical Alliance in 2011,more than 14,000 copies have been distributed. The revised edition and the course were field-tested in three churches with a number of Asians, and received excellent feedback.
The new course is supported by more than 30 partners from across the Christian spectrum includingChristianity Explored, the London Baptist Association, the Church of England (Diocese of London), Interserve, South Asian Concern, UCCF, the Assemblies of God and the Leprosy Mission England and Wales.
One woman, Sahodra (not her real name), who was part of the pilot courses said she was amazed about how much she learnt about Jesus.
"The course answered a lot of questions that Asian non-Christians ask in the simplest ways," she said. "For me, having clear words from God from the Bible strengthened my belief that there is a living God. It became clear to me that I didn't have to change who I was – my Asian culture, my relationships, clothing or food – to be a follower of Christ."
Manoj Raithatha, national co-ordinator of SAF, said: "'The Jesus Through Asian Eyes booklet seeks to answer 16 commonly-asked questions by Asians about Jesus and the new Discovering Jesus courseprovides the opportunity for these topics to be discussed in a relaxed and friendly setting. We are providing training from experienced practitioners to help churches and organisations get the most out of these new resources and to develop their relationships and contacts with the Asian community."
The Rt Rev Pete Broadbent, bishop of Willesden and deputy bishop of London, said: "I wholeheartedly support the Discovering Jesus Through Asian Eyes course. This resource has two important features which make it both simple and relevant: first, it can be either tailored to suit a group discussion or an informal conversation over a coffee; second, it has been developed to be used with all kinds of churches – those with little knowledge of Asians of other faiths and those with a good deal more experience. I recommend this course for any church or Christian organisation seeking to develop meaningful dialogue with Asian non-Christians. It's a great resource. My prayer is that it will help many discover who Jesus really is."
Tel: 07766 444 650
Notes to Editors
The Evangelical Alliance
We are the largest and oldest body representing the UK’s two million evangelical Christians. For more than 165 years, we have been bringing Christians together and helping them listen to, and be heard by, the government, media and society. We’re here to connect people for a shared mission, whether it’s celebrating the Bible, making a difference in our communities or lobbying the government for a better society. From Skye to Southampton, from Coleraine to Cardiff, we work across 79 denominations, 3,500 churches, 750 organisations and thousands of individual members. And we're not just uniting Christians within the UK – we are a founding member of the World Evangelical Alliance, a global network of more than 600 million evangelical Christians. For more information, go to www.eauk.org.
South Asian Forum
The Evangelical Alliance set up the South Asian Forum (SAF) in October 2010 bringing together a number of people with a passion to reach Asians for Christ.SAF has the unique ability to unite, support and equip South Asian Christians for mission. SAF works to represent the issues and concerns of the South Asian Christians to the Government, media and the wider Church.
This Alliance initiative provides a forum for the estimated 75,000 South Asian Christians in the UK representing the eight countries of South Asia; Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It provides a vehicle through which to respond quickly and with unity to issues such as the persecution of Christians in Pakistan and the on-going fragility of the country, or the intense suffering caused by divisions in Sri Lanka.
The Good Book Company
The Good Book Company is a leading International publisher of Bible-centred resources to help Christians grow in their faith, and reach out to others. It is based in Epsom, UK and has offices in Australia and near Washington DC, USA. It publishes the Christianity Explored resources, and a wide range of daily Bible reading, Bible study and evangelistic material for churches and individuals.
Discovering Jesus through Asian Eyes partners
- London Baptist Association
- The Baptist Union of Great Britain
- Church of England (London Diocese)
- Christianity Explored
- Assemblies of God
- Hope Together
- Redeemed Christian Church of God
- Share Jesus International
- London City Mission
- Emmanuel Church, Wimbledon
- World Venture
- Lighthouse International Christian Church
- All Nations Church (Wolverhampton)
- South Asian Concern
- Global Connections
- Leprosy Mission England and Wales
- Word of Life
- British Pakistan Christian Association
- New Life Suwarta Sanghat
- Greenford Baptist Church
- Stanmore Baptist Church
- New Life Masih Ghar
- World Harvest
- Haddon Hall Church
- Scottish Asian Fellowship
- Gujarati Christian Fellowship
- Bethany Faith Ministries
- Chinese Church in London
- London City Mission