Many American Christians have incomplete mental models about the Church in the Middle East. Steadman Harrison, CEO and Mission Director of Global Outreach, wants to change that.
In a recent article published in the AFA Journal, he writes that Western Christians need "a shift of perspective":
The primary difference of perspective is that the American sees the church in the Middle East as a seed to be planted. We share a mental model of a church in its infancy. Our Christian family members in the Middle East hold another view. They see their church and their Christian heritage in the Middle East as an endangered legacy.
He recounts times driving around large cities like Beirut and Lebanon and being astonished at the size and number of Christian church buildings he saw. The Church has been deeply present in countries like Jordan for almost 2,000 years.
This reality causes a shift in our motivation for mission. Global Outreach International is beginning a major partnership in Jordan, with several families having relocated there in 2016 and more on the way in 2017. Their primary goal is not to bring something "new" but rather to support the ongoing work of faithful Jordanian pastors and Christians.
Steadman writes: "We owe our testimony, our modern witness in the West, to those disciples and followers of Jesus who faithfully planted churches throughout the region of the Middle East"--and it's important that we recognize, in humility, that our service is done on the foundations already laid there. And there is much work to be done! His conclusion is apt:
Let us consider how we can stand arm in arm with a church whose legacy is being threatened. May the light of Christ shine brightly in the Middle East until He returns and calls
His church home.
Consider today how you might be part of God's kingdom work in the Middle East. Global Outreach is taking a trip to Jordan and Israel in March--interested in coming? Send us a message.