Middle East and North Africa
Religion, especially Islam, uniquely characterizes the Middle East and North Africa. Despite their ancient heritage and historical contributions since the first century, Christians remain vulnerable and relatively few in number across the region. Against considerable hardship and even violent persecution in some countries, the Church perseveres as a faithful remnant. Today, the region is home to over 20 million Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Christians.
As it ministers in hostile settings, the Middle Eastern and North African Church has great need for well-equipped leaders. Theological schools seek to train Christian leaders who can preach the Gospel amid adversity and address pressing issues, such as suffering and witness, forgiveness and reconciliation, and engagement with Islam. War and terrorism in the region have driven millions from their homes, but the Church is reaching out with the love of Christ. Many refugees are responding to the Gospel with encouraging openness.
Through LeaderStudies, SCHOLARLEADERS currently supports nine leaders from Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Palestine, and Lebanon. Through the Vital SustainAbility Initiative, we have worked closely with leaders of the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo as they develop plans for training pastors for Egypt and throughout the Arabic-speaking world. We also celebrate the work of reconciliation led by Musalaha founder and 2009 ScholarLeader of the Year, Dr. Salim Munayer, and his colleagues at Bethlehem Bible College.
Please join us in prayer for our sisters and brothers who live and serve in this region. Their commitment to Christ and His Church inspires and challenges us all. Pray for those who teach, train, minister, and share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Pray especially for new believers who choose to follow Christ at great personal cost.
Photo: Coptic Church in Cairo Egypt (Credit: Evan Hunter).
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In Lebanon, the governance system is based on power sharing between Christians and Muslims. In theory such a system underwrites coexistence, but in practice it is a recipe for division and inter-communal conflict. As community gatekeepers, clergy have been framed as part of the problem, but I am investigating how they can be part of the solution. I hope my research can contribute to peacebuilding in Lebanon and to creating an environment that encourages Gospel growth.read more
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It has become a common thing to say the world is not going to be the same after the pandemic. Let us pray that the Church will come out of the crisis with fresh vision and strength to fulfill its mission in whatever circumstance we may find ourselves tomorrow.read more
This past week, thousands of protesters in hundreds of cities across the United States and worldwide have joined in anti-racism solidarity demonstrations, following widespread circulation of graphic video footage showing George Floyd’s death. In the Body of Christ, when “one member suffers, all suffer together” (1 Cor. 12:26). We are grateful for every message we have received from members of the ScholarLeaders fellowship around the world, asking how to pray for those of us in the United States during this painful time.read more
Today, life in Russia, and all around the world, has been influenced by COVID-19. Herzen University was closed for more than a month. The pre-defense of my thesis took place without my participation and now I need to make adjustments to the text, because I could not personally answer the Committee’s questions.read more