by Tom Atema
“Pastors of local churches possess responsibility for the global mission.” – David Platt
George Pentecost said years ago, “To the pastor belongs the privilege and responsibility of the missionary problem.”
Today many churches have as their mantra “The church is the Hope of the world!”
We could not agree more with all three of these statements. The church IS the hope of the world because it has the mandate, the resources, the people, the purpose, the passion, and the power; everything to make peoples’ lives better.
Agreeing with these statements and practically living them out are two VERY different things.
For us at Heart for Lebanon, we deeply believe the hope for the world is Jesus Christ. He is the hope for Syria and the Middle East and it starts with the refugees themselves. It begins with our indigenous team at Heart for Lebanon living out our Christian faith honestly and openly before them. It’s serving them as Christ serves us unconditionally and holistically. It’s listening to their story and sharing ours. Over time (and right on time, on God’s timetable) the people we serve are drawn into a conversation about Jesus Christ. Some will follow Him, some will take more conversations and some will reject Him. But all will be given the opportunity to see Him.
Because of consistent prayer, conversations, and financial investments that have been made over years, more than 1,300 Muslims attend our Bible Studies each month. Heart for Lebanon’s discipleship program and God’s favor has allowed the planting of two Muslim-Born Believer (MBBs) Worship Gatherings. One is in the South and the second is in the Bekaa, with a total of 260 MBBs attending. Muslim Born Refugee believers are leading the service, doing the Bible reading, and leading Worship. Our local Lebanese team is giving the the message itself. Each Worship Gathering has a “Sunday School” type program for the children that is packed full!
It’s primarily out of this group that we are finding influencers; leaders that we can develop at a deeper level. Once discipled and trained as key influencers at a leadership level, they will be the new Biblical Servant Leaders to their families, their communities, their nation, and the world. We are focusing on developing each one as a solid follower of Jesus Christ having a Biblical world-view that will emphasize their God given unique ability. These leaders will someday return home to rebuild the broken nation of Syria on a Biblical foundation with the church as the hub of the rebuilding process for their communities. Working with churches in our network in Syria, these MBBs will work along side existing churches helping them grow faster because of the discipleship and training they received while in Lebanon.
The church is the hope for a new different kind of Syria!
We are humbled and excited about the future. To be called to play a role in the rebuilding process comes with a great responsibility. This is why we believe the church is the hope of the world. When leaders of the church are Biblical Servant Leaders they bring a new kind of leadership. Jesus Christ will be irresistible because of the lifestyle and actions of the returning Syrian refugees who have been transformed by God’s grace.
So never think your prayers and financial support end with Humanitarian Aid or with our Children at Risk initiative – those are just the starting points!