• Why should I get involved?

    What sort of world do you want to live in? What sort of world do you want young people in the UK to live in? At MYX we would love to be part of a movement that creates a society where people can live out their faith confidently and at the same time allow space for others to live out their faith. As Christians and Muslims we also have inspiration from our faiths that inspires us to do this work (links to why Christians and Muslims should get involved). This vision is not just for groups to live separately from one another each being faithful, but in an isolated privatised version of their faith. We want to see young people happy to meet and build friendships with people of different faiths, able to talk about their faith in ways that lead to peace, friendship and understanding. This doesn’t just happen by accident. Creating the environment and conditions for this to happen takes time and effort. One of the biggest challenges is encouraging young people to participate for the first time (usually once they’ve been you can’t keep them away), and reassuring their parents or carers and faith leaders that this is a good thing to be involved in. By far the most effective way to counter this is through good relationships. That takes time and effort. If you share our vision for a society where young people cross boundaries, build friendships and express their faith confidently and humbly with those they meet, then get involved. Without folk like you giving your valuable time, effort and skills to make this happen the chances are we will continue to have a situation where many young people never meet people of another faith and struggle to know how to explain their faith to someone else.

  • How can I set up an MYX group?

    The first thing to do is to gather round you a group of like-minded volunteers who are committed to setting up an MYX group. Having people with connections amongst Muslims and Christians will be vital.

    Work out in advance why you are setting up a group and what your aims will be, see our Getting Together page. Sorting this out early on will really help when you come to sell the idea to others and recruit young people.

    Let the Christian Muslim Forum office know that you are setting up an MYX group. We’d love to hear from you and be able to support you in your work.

    When you have set a date for a first event use the publicity ideas to generate some good physical and on-line publicity for your group.

    Use the Training Materials to help all your team understand what you are doing.

    Devise a good Programme for the event. Use the ones we’ve prepared to help you get started.

    In the run up to the event keep on promoting and encouraging young people to attend. There is an increasing trend for people to book for things at the very last minute. Don’t give up but do put in lots of effort to get the right number of people along.

    Make sure you’ve got plans for future events before your first meeting.

    Have fun on the day

    Send in some feedback (pics if possible) to MYX so we can use it to encourage others

    You’ve done it you are now running an MYX group!

  • Is this evangelism or Da’wah?

    For many Muslims and Christian an integral part of their faith is calling or inviting others to join their faith (this is usually called evangelism by Christians and Da’wah by Muslims).  It has often been said that if you're into evangelism/da’wah that’s all you do and so any encounter is merely a smoke screen for an opportunity to invite people to convert. This leads people to suspect that people have hidden agendas and search for them at every opportunity.

    It has also been suspected that people who are into ‘inter faith activities’ are happy to give up all their key beliefs until what's left appears to be some sort of religious mush made up of bits of different faiths and a dollop of general good humanity.

    At MYX we are opposed to having any hidden agenda, but each of us is convinced that the faith we follow is true and, a number of us are also engaged in Da’wah or evangelistic activities. So is an MYX event a clever, hidden way to get converts, or do we expect young people to give up their beliefs when they come along?

  • What’s the motive of MYX

    Whilst we each believe that our faith is true and have a desire for people to convert to our faith, we don't hide these passions, what we call our 'Heart Felt Desires' that stay with us whatever were doing. But we recognize that we have different motives at different times and when undertaking different tasks.

    Let me explain. When we are working with designers or printers for MYX our aim is to get the work done well for a good price and on time. Whilst we may long for the people we work with to embrace the faith we follow our aim in this situation is to get the work done.

    Our ‘heartfelt desire’ stays the same but our motive for this activity is different.

    So it is with MYX

    When we run MYX events we have clear aims (see section on setting aims) that are about building friendships, being peacemakers and making the world a better place. The aim is NOT da’wah or evangelism.

    There's another important reason why we hold this tension between dialogue and da’wah or evangelism. Most of the Christian and Muslim young people we work with are into both these things before they get involved with MYX. Our aim is not to change their passion but to help them find ways to express it and share it in ways that treats people of the other faith ethically and lovingly. Find out how we worked with The Christian Muslim Forum, help them do that ethically with Ethical Guidelines for Witness.

  • What kind of food can we eat?

    Lots of great food, next question!

    Actually this is a serious question. Muslims have to eat food that is halal (killed in the right way) and some foods (pork, alcohol, non-halal meat) are haram (forbidden). Some Christians do not want to eat halal food and that’s before you take into consideration the vegetarians, vegans, those with certain allergies or just the fussy. Suddenly what seemed a nice idea, let’s all eat together, has turned into a complex logistical challenge. Oh, and if you cook anything you will need to make sure someone has an up to date food hygiene certificate! (there are lots of colleges that advertise this course on line but you can get official information at http://www.food.gov.uk/foodindustry/regulation/europeleg/eufoodhygieneleg/ )

    However, it is possible to eat together and this is often a good chance to relax and enjoy each other’s company. If you are going out to eat just check that they can offer halal and non-halal food, if they can’t offer halal meat they might be able to offer a good vegetarian option. For more see practical issues.

  • What activities can we do?

    You can do almost anything but just remember a few basic principles:

    • Do good youth work. It’s amazing how many people who do really creative Youthwork suddenly go all serious and formal when it involves young people of different faiths. Make sure the activities are ones that engage and interest the young people and aren’t ones that adults think are ‘suitable’ for inter faith work. This is why we’ve taken groups bowling, canoeing, camping and rock-climbing but haven’t visited churches and mosques.
    • Be aware of cultural expectations from different communities. Some Muslims would be unhappy with mixed sex activities (this is true for a small number of Christians too) and single sex activities do provide space for discussions and activities that don’t work in a mixed group. Where people are happy for mixed groups they would often be unhappy for games that involve physical contact between the sexes, however innocent you might feel it to be.
    • The best activities are ones that engage the young people and give them chance to chat and get to know one another, cinema trips might be popular but don’t encourage great social interaction (at least not the sort we want to encourage at MYX events!).
    • It doesn’t all have to be about religion or doing good work, you are allowed to just have fun. Running a series of events together for ‘Inter Faith Week’ or ‘Fairtrade Fortnight’ is a great way of engaging young people in projects that can interest them. But you can also have a day out at a theme park so that the young people enjoy themselves and realise that meeting people of another faith isn’t always for a special reason sometimes it’s just what we do.
  • How do we have a discussion without having a fight?

    ‘Don’t discuss politics or religion’ used to be given as advice if you wanted to avoid arguments. These topics often lead to disagreement because people care about passionately about them. MYX is committed to helping young people who do passionately believe about religion discuss it in constructive ways. The following pointers should help you facilitate discussions not fights:

    • Have a clear aim and topic for any discussion. Let the young people know, in advance, what they are coming together to discuss.
    • Use our Guidelines for Dialogue to set the tone and provide a clear framework for discussions. We’ve used these at every event since we started this kind of work in 2000 and found that they provide a really clear ‘safety net’ for the young people so that they know that there will be equality in the discussions and that they won’t be backed into a corner or made to say things they feel uncomfortable with.
    • Set the tone. The way you lead any event will influence the discussions the young people have. Take your own and their faith seriously but keep things a bit light, allow for laughter and a bit of frivolity.
    • Allow people to express their understanding and experience of faith rather than feeling that they have to give the ‘right answer’ or try to remember what they read or heard recently. An MYX event is not primarily a place for adults to teach young people about their faith, but a space for the young people to discuss their faith with other young people.
    • Oversee the conversations and make sure the guidelines are adhered to. Having discussion groups and activities that are peer-led is great but do have someone to just keep an eye on what’s happening. It’s easy in the discussions for people to forget the guidelines. They might just need reminding of the ethos and rules of the event.
    • Keep it short. When people are discussing it’s tempting to let the discussions run and run. Don’t be afraid to stop them whilst they are going well. This leaves the young people wanting more, prevents them getting boring and keeps them positive.
    • Keep it positive. This is perhaps the most important. Our ethos can be summed up by ‘Don’t tell me why I’m wrong, tell me why you’re right’. Try and keep this tone throughout all the discussions. We start almost every event with a discussion starter that includes the question, ‘What’s the best thing about being a Muslim or a Christian?’ This sets a positive tone that often then infuses the rest of the conversations.
  • How do I recruit young people?

    This is the biggest challenge that can be solved in one word – Relationships. The challenge in recruiting young people is not that they don’t see this as important but:

    • They are really busy. As schools have more exams spread throughout the year more young people have less free time for any activity let alone one which isn’t as well known as others. Alongside that many young people have part time jobs and an active social life. So fitting in a day of Christian-Mulsim dialogue is often tricky.
    • Parents and Faith Leaders are often more wary as they often haven’t been involved in this kind of activity. Use the information on this site to explain to them exactly what will be happening and why.

    Overcoming all these things will be much easier if you have built up good relationships with the young people, group leaders, teachers, parents or faith leaders. It takes a long time which is why we’ve set up MYX to help you through that process of encouraging participation.

    In the past we’ve tended to recruit Christian young people through churches as many have an active youth group and will be able to promote an event and encourage young people to participate. Far fewer mosques have youth groups but there are more schools with predominantly Muslim background pupils. Consequently, we’ve tended to recruit Muslim pupils through the schools. We’ve pften found that there is a teacher who is convinced about and committed to this work. Once they’re on board it’s often fairly easy for them to help you recruit young people.

  • What do I do if they won’t talk to each other?

    Once you get young people talking the chances are you'll find that stopping them is even harder! To get going start with some discussion activities and warm up games that are non-threatening and set a fun lively tone. You can then move on to more serious discussions by which time the ice will be broken and they'll be ready to go.

    To get going you could play 'The sun shines on.' for this you all sit on chairs in a circle with one less chair than people. The extra person stands in the middle and they have to try and get a seat. Call out 'The sun shines on. and then add a category' for example people wearing jeans, people who watch the X Factor, people wearing something black, people who have been on an aeroplane. Everyone who fits that description has to swap places and whilst they are doing that the person in the middle tries to grab a seat. The last person to grab a seat will end up in the middle. After a few goes let the person in the middle choose a category.

    A couple of easy discussion starters can be downloaded from our resources section

  • What if they say something “wrong” about their faith?

    When we give young people chance to speak about their beliefs they don't always say things that we agree with or that are totally in line with what others consider to be orthodox teaching. At MYX we are committed to allowing young people to express what they believe in their own language, even if the way they say it isn't how we would explain it in a Mosque or Church setting. If you know the young person then at another time you might want to talk to them about what they said. You might find they just expressed themselves unclearly, they might appreciate some extra teaching to help them understand their faith more fully or they might just disagree with you! We would suggest that an MYX event is not a place primarily for adults to teach young people about their faith,
    but an opportunity for young people to tell each other what they believe. This can be difficult for adults who have a genuine concern to help young people grow in their faith, but correcting them in front of their peers (especially of another faith) is unlikely to get a good hearing.

  • Do we need to have equal numbers of Christians and Muslims?

    If you can make sure there are equal numbers it makes for a far better event. Making sure there are equal numbers is really hard work, but it is worth it. If there is a big imbalance one groups feels cheated that they didn't meet more people, and the others can feel a bit swamped.The best way to ensure equal numbers is firstly aim for a small group. It's better to have 6 Muslims and 6 Christians rather than 15 Christians and 5 Muslims. Getting people to book in advance helps you monitor numbers, this is also hard work as lots of teenagers decide on the day if they are going to do something! However, persisting in the days before an event to get people signed up does mean you can close the event to one group if they are full and work hard at recruiting others. It's always
    hard telling people an event is full but it shows them that what you do is popular and you can always run some more events for them to come to.

  • What if someone converts?

    This for many people is the big risk of any inter-faith work. What if someone comes as a member of one faith and leaves having joined another one?  Firstly at MYX we fully support the ‘Ethical Guidelines for Witness’ drawn up by the Christian Muslim Forum. We recognise that some people will want to share their faith with others and that some people do chose to change their faith. We do not see MYX events as being places where people are invited to convert, they are opportunities for people to build friendships and discuss their faith. But in doing this some people will find the beliefs and practices of others attractive. This will happen whether MYX runs events or not. What we want to do is provide a good safe environment for people to engage with the faiths of others, recognising that this does contain the ‘risk’ (or as some would see it, the hope) of people being attracted by the others’ faith.

    We certainly do not want to put young people in a situation where they feel under pressure to convert (or not to convert), neither do we want to put them in a position where they make important faith decisions in a way which deceives their parents.

    In our experience people very, very rarely arrive at an event confident in their faith and suddenly convert to another faith. Usually a conversion comes after much soul searching and over a long period of time. If young people do have questions about where their faith is leading them we trust that leaders will guide them and help them in such a way that the young people are supported, encouraged and equipped to make a decision with a full understanding of the consequences. We would also want to make sure we helped them talk to their families about their questions and feelings.


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