Rebuilding communities that were shattered by war is no easy task, especially when bad leadership was at the center of those conflicts. Servant leadership is a foreign concept to the Middle East region. Selfless love and care are not considered signs of a leader’s strength. The task ahead of us is daunting. But if we truly want to see communities transformed, we can not shy away from raising up the next generation of leaders; faithful stewards, humble characters, servant spirits with inclusive attitudes.
Refugees are turning to Christ in large numbers. They are doing so because they are experiencing, for the first time, the true meaning of unconditional love. And it is extremely humbling. Never in the history of the Middle East have we found such thirst to hear the Gospel preached, and such desire to learn more about Jesus. People from all Middle Eastern backgrounds – Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish Muslims – are seeking the truth. In the midst of their pain and suffering, refugees are tangibly feeling His love through the care they receive from the body of Christ. They are searching for answers to a long list of questions. In short, God is redeeming the ugly outcome of wars, hatred, and fanaticism and is turning it into beautiful stories of transformation. Expressions of faith, gatherings of believers, and worship communities are emerging all over Lebanon! This is truly amazing!
This natural, organic growth can only be sustained if and when “people of peace” are identified and empowered to share the Good News in their circles of influence. This growth will continue to multiply when persons of peace take the lessons they have learned, and the experiences they have encountered, and share them with others. Such individuals need to be identified and empowered to be messengers of His forgiveness and reconciliations. As they are being discipled, they need to be released to disciple others.
At Heart for Lebanon all this begins with what we call Access Ministries. Our humanitarian aid and our non-formal education programs are the best way to share the unconditional love of Christ with those we are called to serve. Through Access Ministries, refugees and host communities are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. They are the first step in building relational engagement where the refugee’s trust in humanity is restored and where a safe environment is created for questions about faith.
Discipleship and Bible Study classes, along with our Worship Gatherings, are step 3 and 4 in our Ministry Pyramid. This is where people of peace are identified and discipled. This is where individuals and families grow in their faith and are given the opportunity to dig deep into Scripture and to freely and openly worship our Risen Lord. In our Bible Study groups, men and women meet together to know Jesus and to learn how to make Him known to others.
For this full ministry circle to be complete, Heart for Lebanon added a fifth tier to the Ministry Pyramid. For us to fulfill our vision to see lives changed and communities transformed, Heart for Lebanon is committed to raise up a new generation of “Community Leaders”. Knowing Christ and making Him known to others is at the core of the “lives changed” in our Vision statement. But to cover the second part of that statement, to see “communities transformed”, a whole new generation of leaders is required. It is vitally important to raise up community leaders who embody Biblical stewardship and can be an example of ethnic and gender inclusiveness and equality. This is the direction that many Muslim-born Believers are heading, that of a new community leader. And for that we give all the glory and praise to God.