This incredible video series from the ministry of Al Massira was filmed in 13 different countries over a period of 16 months. We rejoice that this outreach tool is yielding much fruit. In fact, over the last several years, well over 8,000 people have been trained in presenting the series. Once they are trained, their next step is to gather small groups of friends who are interested in learning about the Messiah. Approximately 2,000 Al Massira (AM) groups have formed, with attendance ranging from two to 70 people.
The Lord is using this series to reach many. Al Massira estimates that over 10,000 people have actually gone through the whole video series. The videos not only anticipate but also address the common issues about the Messiah that many struggle with. They are relevant for all ages and designed to be used with or without the accompanying written resources. At the end of the series, viewers will have been presented with a clear overview of the biblical message from Genesis to Revelation–before they are encouraged to make up their own minds based on what they have learned.
It is the hope and prayer of the Al Massira team that pastoral trainers and leaders alike will take a moment to learn more about this outreach tool and then prayerfully consider sharing it with their churches and leaders. In this way, you empower the local church body to be evangelists and disciple-makers and the seeds of the Gospel are spread!
The GProCommunity Team recently interviewed Brother Andy, Al Massira director. Below is the conversation:
GProCommunity Team: What does Al Massira mean? What is its mission?
Andy: Al Massira means “Journey.” Jesus took a journey to a village called Emmaus, recorded in the book of Luke, with two friends who were struggling to find answers to some big questions. He explained to them, through the messages (or signs) of the ancient Prophets, the answers they were searching for. Al Massira aims to take small groups of friends on a similar journey to discover answers that are relevant for today’s world and reveal the true identity and work of the Messiah.
GProCommunity Team: Is the video series designed for evangelism or discipleship?
Andy: The answer is both! In our trainings, we help people to understand the harmony and integrity of the Gospel through both the Old and New Testaments. People can use the series in evangelism or discipleship. It has been designed to provide answers to some of the biggest questions that non-Western people have today regarding the message of the Gospel.
GProCommunity Team: How is it designed?
Andy: It is designed for existing friendship groups, which can include both inquirers and Christians. We are presenting the Christian faith through a chronological overview of the Bible as we centre the Christian faith in its original Middle Eastern context. Al Massira includes a variety of integrated activities: viewing the films, open discussion, prayer, food and companionship.
GProCommunity Team: How did it come about?
Andy: Al Massira originated from seven years of prayer while the founding members were doing ministry in the Middle Eastern region. It has become one answer to the need felt in the body of Christ to fulfill the Great Commission. Two years into the planning stages, half of the team, including myself, was banished from the Middle Eastern country where we were serving. We relocated in the UK. This ended up being a blessing, because we could completely focus on the development of the program. During 2007 to 2011, the vision began to take shape in written materials through the development of film scripts and then the filming itself. The creators of this resource and training were six believers from Middle Eastern backgrounds who worked alongside me and a couple of others from a Western background.
GProCommunity Team: Can anyone share the Al Massira videos?
Andy: Anyone can share if they have a heart to work with those who have yet to hear the message of freedom in Christ: lay people, missionaries, pastoral leaders and pastoral trainers.
GProCommunity Team: What percentage of those trained to share the video series are pastoral leaders or pastors?
Andy: Sadly, I estimate that number at about 1 percent. We think that is because of the many demands on a pastor or pastoral trainer to manage the day-to-day needs of a church. There isn’t much time to engage with refugees and those from other cultural backgrounds, unless that is the pastor’s main ministry focus. We understand this and that is why we hope to introduce the training series to pastors so that they can catch the vision and then share it with their church members, thus empowering the local church body to be evangelists and disciple-makers.
GProCommunity Team: How can the pastoral leaders and trainers in the GProCommission network best utilize Al Massira?
Andy: We want them to know that the Al Massira video curriculum exists so that they can share this with their congregants. We pray they are led to host a training event or send their members to a training. You can learn more about the curriculum on our website here.
GProCommunity Team: Can you tell us more about the training events? How many do you estimate have gone through it?
Andy: We hold roughly 80-90 training events a year (most of which are two days in duration) in 15 or more languages to equip people to use Al Massira. Over the last several years, we estimate over 8,000 people have been trained in total.
GProCommunity Team: How much is it to attend training events?
Andy: The cost is on a country by country basis. It ranges from US$20 – US$200/person to attend the training and receive the full Al Massira resource. We try to make Al Massira available at a price that people can afford, and therefore we also need to fundraise in order to subsidise training events in regions of lower economic capacity.
GProCommunity Team: Where can we find out about upcoming trainings?
Andy: Interested parties should reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GProCommunity Team: Can someone share the video series without attending a training event?
Andy: Currently we only release the Al Massira resource through the short, two-day training event.
GProCommunity Team: Can the video series be purchased by itself, and if so, where can it be purchased?
Andy: Not at present. However, we are making plans to do this at some point in the near future. We will make that announcement through our mailing list.
GProCommunity Team: How many do you estimate have come to Christ as a result of someone sharing the Al Massira (AM) video series?
Andy: It is very hard to track as there are so many trainings happening and people do not always tell us what is happening until long afterwards. For example, at a recent promotional event, one man stood up and shared that over a period of six years, more than 100 people had been part of an Al Massira groups in his city and many had been powerfully impacted. We estimate that well over 10 percent of all those who attend Al Massira (AM) groups make a decision to follow Christ (the percentage may well be much higher than this) and of course AM may only be one step in a person’s journey – with other steps coming at a later point and from different believers that they meet. In fact, it may take place even years after attending an AM group. This is to be expected with any form of outreach.
GProCommunity Team: Can you share one recent praise report/testimony from someone who went through the video series?
Andy: We are more than happy to share the following testimonials as we rejoice to learn how Al Massira is making an impact all over the globe.
“After the training, they held the first small group gathering. Over 16 non-Christians attended the first episode viewing event and loved it. They are migrant workers and the small group members said that they will return with more friends. The church is preparing to host the group in a new location so they will not meet ‘in a church.’ The AM training was very helpful in preparing the church to host this group. Now the churches in the area are excited over this.” From East Asia
From an AM series presenter who happened to be visiting the Czech Republic – “An Iranian lady stopped me in a street in Prague to thank me about how AM changed her life and (helped her) become a Christian, and follower of Jesus.” From Czech Republic
“A new group started in the capital where a family is leading an AM group with the other nonbeliever relatives of their family. Last week they started and one man gave his life to Jesus in the Intro episode!” From North Africa
“I found out yesterday that one of our AM groups here had four members give their lives…. Also, one other member had done so two months previously, but shared that with the group this time.” From the Middle East
“One of the church leaders started AM with a group of about 10 Syrian women and their children. He has a small video projector that he takes with him. They seem to alternate in different homes. He is very encouraged with the response and will be starting another group soon. He says this is helping them to absorb the story and it generates even further questions. He said that the ladies now have a great biblical framework which is helping them to make deeper sense of the Bible and their faith. He said that a Lebanese neighbour even wanted to join and will be hosting the meeting in her flat next time.” From the Middle East
GProCommunity Team: What is the next step for Al Massira?
Andy: We are actively working on getting the video series to be translated into other languages. Right now, it is available in Arabic, Chinese (Simplified, Traditional and Hui), Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Indonesian, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Farsi, Finnish, Korean, Norwegian and Uighur. Over the next year, God willing, we plan to have it available in Bangla, Hausa, Romanian, Russian, Somali & Swahili, Afrikaans, and Turkish.