The Missiology behind the Story
Voices from the Arab World
In the twenty-first century the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has faced many challenges – conflict, changes of governments, terrorism, trauma – yet new opportunities have opened up for local churches to demonstrate the love of God and bless their communities.
This book provides a fresh look at the theology driving Christian mission and at emerging ministry models by addressing ten aspects of missio Dei in the Middle Eastern context. Subjects such as church planting, discipleship, media, and peace building are introduced with their historical background, and contemporary stories and case studies of transformative work in the MENA region. As the book examines these topics we see how mission in the Middle East is no longer “from the West to the rest” but is now characterized as “from everywhere to everywhere.” All Christians will find in these contributions important biblical principles for their own context to follow Jesus Christ and bear witness to him.
Readers are also reminded that hardship does not have to be an obstacle to the church living out the mission of God as salt and light, and there is much the global church can learn from the activities of Christians in MENA countries. While each chapter in this book focuses on a particular aspect of mission, churches must be holistic in transforming lives and to this end, societies, and this book is a gift from the MENA church to the rest of the body of Christ.
This book is a unique window into missions in the Middle East in recent history. While no such overview can do justice to the last two hundred years, the contributors have carefully tried to cover as much as possible in a fair and balanced perspective. This book will be especially useful for evangelical Westerners who want to get an idea of what God has done and is doing in the Middle East today and the cultural and political contexts in which Christian ministry takes place.
General Director, The Bible Society of Egypt
At a time when there is so much conflict in the Middle East and so many doubts about the survival of Christianity, we need to know that there are many Christians who are rooted there and actively engaged in their communities in creative and imaginative ways. These are powerful stories – the majority told by nationals – not only about subjects you would expect from evangelical Christians, like church planting and discipleship, but about peace-making, inter-faith dialogue and social justice.
Former Lecturer in Islamic Studies, Near East School of Theology, Beirut, Lebanon
Visiting Lecturer, Arab Baptist Theological Seminary, Beirut, Lebanon
The Missiology behind the Story clearly demonstrates that the God of mission has a church in the region that is reaching out in numerous ways. As expected, evangelism, church planting and discipleship are part of that mission, but so are relief and development, justice, peacebuilding and more. Moreover, through case studies in each of the ten chapters, it is very encouraging to see the involvement by Muslim background believers that is helping to change every aspect of life and society. Truly, God is at work among the 313 million Arabic speakers in our world, and we can look forward to even greater things to come.
Warren Larson, PhD
Senior Research Fellow and Professor, Zwemer Center for Muslim Studies, Columbia International University, South Carolina, USA
This is a sensitive and broad introduction to Christian worship and witness in the birthplace and heartlands of the three major monotheistic religions of the world – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Against the backdrop of the history of the region and the transfer of leadership from expatriate to national leaders, it takes the reader through helpful descriptions of evangelism, church planting, discipleship, relief and development, social justice, dialogue, peacebuilding, media, children and youth, and leadership formation – all described by a variety of workers. If you only can have one book on the these topics, this is the book to get.
J. Dudley Woodberry, PhD
Dean Emeritus and Sr. Professor of Islamic Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California, USA
Table of Contents
1. Evangelism in the Mission of God
2. Church Planting in the Mission of God
3. Discipleship in the Mission of God
4. Relief and Development in the Mission of God
5. Engagement for Social Justice in the Mission of God
6. Christian-Muslim Dialogue in the Mission of God
7. Peacebuilding in the Mission of God
8. Media in the Mission of God
9. Children and Youth in the Mission of God
10. Leadership Formation in the Mission of God
Appendix: The Middle East from Christ to The Twenty-First Century – A Brief History