The challenges in Lebanon have been mounting during the last couple of years but Christian leaders are making a positive change in their society. Their spiritual ministry often brings about a real transformation.
The Baptist ministry in Lebanon was begun in 1895 by a photographer who planted the first Baptist congregation in Beirut. During the first fifty years (i.e. between 1895 and 1945), there were only 3 Baptist churches in Lebanon. From 1945 to 1995, the number of churches grew to 24. Today, more than 100 years later, the Baptist ministry continues in this country, and there are now 32 Baptist congregations with a total membership of about 1600.
Baptists in Lebanon are also known for establishing several Christian schools: the Beirut Baptist School (primary and secondary schools) and the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary (ABTS) – both have continued to effectively provide their services until today.
The ABTS is the only Baptist theological institution in the Middle East that trains people to work as indigenous community leaders. Many Baptist churches have been praying for a major revival in this part of the world, i.e. the growth of the church in Lebanon and neighbouring countries where the Arabic language is spoken (Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Tunisia and Sudan).
There is indeed a good prospect with a new generation of leaders who are making a positive change in their society. Their spiritual ministry often brings about a real transformation. We can learn a lot from the below-quoted reports of these active community workers (italics).
A community worker from Lebanon wrote in his recent report:
A couple of years ago, the Lord opened the door for a small home group of 4 people to meet for prayer and Bible study. God used my wife and me to visit many people and share the gospel with them in a non-Christian area in the mountains. Some of them has accepted the call and given their lives to Jesus. We, being previous converts, have been an example for them and an encouragement to their faith. The group started to grow bit by bit, and through that ministry, we began 11 home groups in an area of a 27 km radius. Later we rented a garage and changed it into our church building. The attendance average at our church is 30-35.
During the lockdown, due to the pandemic, we stopped having all our meetings. So we had to find a replacement - video calls with families and individuals. We communicate through WhatsApp to stay in touch with all members. We also do video meetings on Zoom on Fridays. Though, it was hard on some because not everyone has access to the internet, as some can’t afford a Wi-Fi subscription. We also had an opportunity to meet face to face when we distributed food and medical parcels sent to us from the Convention of Baptist Churches in Lebanon. The people from the surrounding neighbourhood are thankful for such initiative, especially during the hard time we are passing through as a nation.
Through this sensitive time in our country, our people took the initiative and started sharing the Good News through the internet. We have many stories of people asking good questions about the faith in Christ. We also had a group on Facebook, but recently our account was hacked, and we received some threats, but we believe the Lord is our refuge and continue to share the gospel despite these obstacles. The goal is that our church members are able to present the gospel and discuss the basic Christian beliefs with others. I strongly believe that the Lord will use our congregation - the Light of the World Evangelical Church to be the light of Christ to all those who are yet in darkness.
This is indeed an excellent example of the transforming power of the Word of God!
Peace during the turbulences hitting Lebanon on all levels.
Wisdom to the Church leaders who pastor the burdened congregations.
Vision to serve by reflecting the Christian values in a country that needs peace.
EBF Mission Coordinator
Planting new churches together! For the glory of God!