LSESD works through many different programs to support the local church. Wissam Nasrallah, Chief Executive Operator for the ministry describes its mission.
“LSESD’s role or mission is first of all to empower the church. We do most of our programs through the local church. This is really our focus. We don’t want to replace the church, but we want to come alongside it, empower it in different ways so that it might be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ within the local community.”
LSESD uses specific programs to provide support to six different areas of Lebanese society. This type of holistic outlook allows them to reach lots of people in different situations. Nasrallah provides a quick overview of the six different ministries.
“The goal of ABTS is to train leaders in the Arab world for ministry in different fields,” Nasrallah says.
The evangelical seminary trains students from at least ten countries around the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. These students train to go back into challenging contexts with the good news of the Gospel and mobilize their churches.
Dar Manhal Al Hayat
Dar Manhal Al Hayat is a publishing house that provides Christ-centered resources to graduates of ABTS and the general public.
“We basically publish resources publish theological and spiritual resources in the Arabic language, either by translating English resources to Arabic and adapting them – of course – to our local context, or by encouraging local authors to write.”
The publishing house also offers Christian lifestyle books, devotionals, biographies and other titles. They currently publish 20-25 new titles each year.
Baptist Children & Youth Ministry (BCYM)
A large population of refugees in Lebanon means there are also many at-risk children. Nasrallah says one way LSESD reaches this population is through BCYM. “The goal of BCYM is to serve vulnerable and refugee children through spiritual camps, 3-day camps, follow-up events and pastoral home visits, tent visits – if you want to call them, where we engage with these youth on a more spiritual level.”
Building relationships with kids and helping build each child’s self-esteem is a primary focus of the ministry. Children also get to experience new places, such as farms, that they otherwise would not be able to visit.
Middle East Revive and Thrive (MERATH)
“MERATH, our relief and development arm, works through local churches to serve the most vulnerable people in the community, and the goal is to facilitate transformational change.”
Nasrallah explains that the ministry targets immediate needs with a goal of long-term sustainability. They offer assistance with basic needs, livelihood and psychosocial support, and non-formal education and safe environments for children.
SKILD Center for Smart Kids with Individual Learning Differences
“We work with public and private schools in Lebanon where we train teachers to spot children with special needs,” Nasrallah says. “We also provide therapy sessions at our center on our campus and training for teachers and support groups for parents who are facing this challenge by themselves.”
Communities and schools do not typically address special needs. LSESD uses SKILD to help raise awareness about learning difficulties and provide appropriate support. They are committed to establishing inclusive educational communities in Lebanon.
Beirut Baptist School (BBS)
Established in the 1950’s, BBS is a K-12 school that provides quality and trusted education. “We serve predominantly a non-Christian population in a very competitive educational environment while having very clear Biblical and spiritual values,” Nasrallah affirms.
Reaching Out, Offering Hope
LSESD reaches many people through their ministries by offering Christ’s hope to communities and people who don’t know Him. Nasrallah says this outward focus is new, but he hopes it will mark the future of the Church in the Middle East.
“We’re on a transformational journey as an organization and as a church. We grew up in an environment of fear and most of our community was inward looking, due to civil war mainly and the fact that we’re a minority in the Middle East.
“But God has been working despite our weaknesses and our fears to show us the potential and that God is greater than everything. And He wants us to be available, and He wants to work through us for His glory, for His namesake.”
LSESD offers people many ways to get involved. From volunteering with children’s or medical camps to helping fund programs and praying for the ministries, there are endless ways to support LSESD.
Nasrallah especially asks that people pray for the Church to have wisdom as they respond to every changing social and political situations. Pray they would be good reflections for Christ no matter the current situation. He also asks for prayer for logistical challenges with operating in different areas around Lebanon.
(Image courtesy of DFID on Flickr shorturl.at/wDMNZ)