Equipping Faithful Leaders in the Arab World
When Langham Scholar Elie Haddad left Lebanon toward the end of that country’s civil war, he didn’t think he’d get the call to go back. But, God had other plans.
While he and his wife were in Canada, where Elie was studying at a seminary, he received an invitation to serve at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary (ABTS) in Beirut, Lebanon—a call he couldn’t ignore.
“As we went back,” he shares, “God gave us new passion, new vision for the ministry, for the country, for the people, for Muslims.”
In addition to serving as the president of ABTS, Elie is currently finishing his Ph.D. in theology with support from Langham, as well as the Overseas Council.
“One of the things that got us excited about serving at ABTS is the strategic place that Lebanon and the seminary has for the whole Arab world. It’s one of the few, if not the only, countries in the Arab world where we are allowed to enroll in seminary students from non-Christian background, which is 95% of the Arab world. So, God is calling us to equip leaders for the church the entire Arab speaking world,” he says.
Elie shares a story about 2 of his ABTS students from Algeria—a married couple with a small child. As they were preparing to return to their home country to minister over the summer, they learned the husband’s name was on a list of Christian leaders facing imprisonment in Algeria.
“Do you know what they said?” Elie shares. “They said ‘No, we’re going back. If we go to prison, that’s fine. But we want to reach our community.’”
Fortunately, the prison sentence was suspended and today the couple is back in Algeria, where they run a grocery store next to a university. “Their ministry is a prime example for missional ministry,” Elie says. “Their ministry is evangelization and discipleship of university students. The store is their means to pay the bills, and is their platform of ministry, as well.”
Today, ABTS is providing students from around the region with the tools they need to effectively minister with the Gospel of peace and reconciliation in their context, and Elie’s heart is to equip students to take the presence of God into communities that need it most.
“I believe the biggest need for the ministry in our region, not just the Middle East but North Africa, is leadership…leaders that have a vision for church planting, have a vision for the poor, have a vision for taking care of refugees and strangers… leaders convinced they need to take God into society.”
Langham exists to raise up Christ like leaders like Elie Haddad who can train and disciple other leaders, multiplying the fruit of their ministry.
“We cannot reach the Arab world without the help of organizations like Langham,” Elie says. “Langham cannot reach the Arab world without trained local people like our graduates. That’s how the body of Christ works. We’re all coming together and support one another so that we accomplish that goal.”
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