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Lebanese Baptists, IMB renew ‘Beirut and Beyond’ partnership

BEIRUT, Lebanon (BP)–Lebanese Baptists and the International Mission Board have renewed an old friendship to see churches planted in every neighborhood of Lebanon.

Leaders of the Lebanese Baptist Society and the IMB signed a ministry partnership plan Oct. 12, committing to three goals for Lebanon: every person hearing the gospel, every home receiving a copy of God’s Word and every neighborhood having a church.

The partnership is based on “a common vision of proclaiming God’s Word to all peoples and making disciples of the nations,” said an IMB worker living in the country.

Southern Baptists started working with Lebanese Baptists in 1921, but a civil war that erupted in 1975 forced IMB workers from the country. Calmer days have allowed the partnership to be re-established.

Lebanese Baptists are pleased to see the relationship renewed.

“Today, the Baptist community joins again the hands of its mother church, enjoying the richness, the mercy and goodness of its eternal Father,” said Nabil Costa, executive director of the Baptist Society, formally known as the Lebanese Society of Education and Social Development.

Almost 300 million Arab Muslims live in two dozen countries of the Middle East and North Africa — and approximately 70 percent of Lebanon’s 3 million people are Muslim. Lebanon is the only country in the region in which Muslims who turn to Christ have been able to safely announce their new faith in public.

Even the Nov. 21 murder of American missionary Bonnie Penner Witherall by a Muslim extremist in the port city of Sidon will not deter efforts to take the gospel to every neighborhood in the country.

“Together we will be able to do what neither one of us can do by yourselves,” said the Southern Baptist representative. Beirut and Beyond, the IMB team located in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, will serve as the cornerstone for the project. The team’s vision is that God will start a church planting movement in Beirut that will move throughout Lebanon, “resulting in an exponential explosion of new communities of believers,” the worker said.

Local believers have an invaluable firsthand understanding of the language and culture, while Christian workers in the country are trained to understand how God often uses his people to facilitate church planting movements, the worker pointed out. In addition, American Christians can enlist volunteers from the United States.

“When we put these together, we have a great team,” the worker said.
Learn more about this outreach effort: www.beirutandbeyond.com.

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  • Manda Roten