The Church is a Center for Education!

by Camille Melki

Places of worship, predominantly churches, were historically built at the center of towns and villages. In fact, the development of those towns and villages were built around them making churches a gathering place for everything: for worship, for refuge, for town meetings, and for education.

Churches were known as a gathering place. They were a trusted place to go to when danger/need arose. They were also a place where education was offered for the young and old. Caring churches offered good education, both Biblical and academic. Until today, the best schools and universities in Lebanon were started and are owned and operated by Christian institutions. 

We at Heart for Lebanon desire for our Hope Ministry Centers in Zahleh and Ghazieh to continue to be these trusted places to go. Our teams work hard to help the communities around us feel welcomed and drawn to the love and care they receive at any of our Hope Evangelical Church services. Our church communities are gathering places for people of all backgrounds. Locals and refugees from Christian, Muslim, Kurdish, or Arab backgrounds, are all welcome.  The goal is to provide the best services so that people who walk through our doors will quickly realize that we are truly driven by the compassionate heart of Jesus Christ and that we exist to see lives changed and communities transformed.

Sunday School classes are both fun and educating. For some children, a Sunday School class is the first opportunity to hear the Jesus story. Bible stories are taught and Biblical principles are lived out among the students and their teachers. Sunday School makes church relevant to children and their families; it makes Christian education a center piece in the lives of the old and young.

The same is true for the two Hope Schools we have in Zahleh and Ghazieh. The educational curriculum is one of the best. It is built to provide a safe learning environment for children at risk. Our teachers are well trained and equipped to address the emotional needs of students who have gone through traumatic experiences from the on-going war in Syria and the conflict in Lebanon. Teaching Arabic, English, math, science and other subjects is very important. But at times, a teacher is obliged to deviate from a prepared lesson to help a student who seems to be struggling with emotional pain of the present and the past. This is only right. This is another opportunity to show the love of Christ in meaningful and tangible ways. It also gives other students the opportunity to live out what they have learned from the various Bible character traits they learned in Chapel or in one of their Bible class hours. 

Students and parents take education seriously. They are well aware that in order to properly address poverty, education needs to be front and center of their development. Education improves knowledge and skills. Christian education builds character. Put together, a good Christian-based school offers knowledge and skill development grounded on a sound and healthy Biblical foundation. This is the mission of our educational program. We desire to graduate future leaders in their societies; individuals capable and willing to lead with integrity.

Each of our churches this summer will continue to have special activities for the children and youth that are both fun, educational and Bible centered.

At Heart for Lebanon, we desire to put the church back at the center of education. We strive to see the church at the heart of a child’s formation and character building. We pray that our churches, our ministry centers, and our non-formal educational programs are always looked at as a trusted place for learning and growing. We also pray that our communities of faith are a safe and welcoming environment for those who are seeking answers and are looking for the truth. We are here to lead people from despair to hope in Christ. Education is this great tool to help us accomplish this goal!