Empowering the Church for the Great Commission
Why is this project needed?
According to UNHCR, 1.3 million refugees of the Syrian conflict now live in Lebanon: 1 in every 4 people. The Syrian Civil war has unleashed the greatest influx of refugees the world has known since WWII. These refugees, uprooted from their homes and livelihoods, have seen atrocities nobody should have to see, and are experiencing unprecedented spiritual hunger.
There is so much spiritual hunger, in fact, that Horizons’ Evangelism and Discipleship centers in the region have
seen over 1,200 Muslims come to faith since 2013. Horizons has partnered with over 45 Lebanese churches in discipling this quickly growing number of Christians from Muslim backgrounds.
It is critical that Horizons continue mobilizing and training local churches in outreach and discipleship among refugees, as Horizons alone does not have capacity to manage the volume of the refugee crisis and to meet their spiritual needs. It is only in a spirit of partnership that the Kingdom will be built here on earth.
A greater level of coordination, partnership, and capacity building is required in order to adequately respond to the Syrian refugee crisis as the body of Christ. Over 350 million people in the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa) do not know Christ. While the local church in the region has great potential, it is not adequately equipped with the vision or the training to take action and fulfill the Great Commission locally, nationally, and globally.
How will this project meet this need?
The refugee crisis in Lebanon provides opportunity not only to reach thousands of Syrian refugees with the Gospel - it also provides an excellent training ground in which the local church will learn to take action, realize its potential, and fulfill the Great Commission throughout the region.
This project focuses on mobilizing, training and equipping Lebanese churches for the great commission locally, nationally and globally in three steps. This project will:
1) increase the capacity of local churches for outreach, supplying them with the means to care for the physical and spiritual needs of refugees, the the underprivileged and especially Muslims.
2) Involve churches in outreach and discipleship throughout greater Lebanon.
3) Involve churches in regional and global ministry by bringing members and church leadership on short term mission trips, mobilizing and developing long term workers from their congregations.
Horizons’ staff, interns, and partnering churches will work together to reach refugees with the gospel, minister holistically to their needs (physical, emotional and spiritual), integrating them into church fellowships, discipling them, and training them to reach other Muslims for Christ – ultimately growing the church.
Horizons has established a network of over 45 partnering churches and organizations on the ground in Lebanon. They help to implement programs at Horizons’ evangelism and discipleship centers, and send church members to the centers to serve. This is a strong base upon which to build this project and network with other churches in the area.
This project launched on April 19th, 2016, and is currently scheduled to run through December 31st 2019.
During each year of the project, Horizons will implement:
1) two one-day training events on evangelism, discipleship and missions to Muslims, and a partnership banquet for Lebanese pastors and leaders to explore missions partnership with over 60 Lebanese Pastors and leaders from at least 45 churches.
2) provision of humanitarian aid (food portions and medical supplies) for the churches to distribute, training church volunteers how to distribute aid, listen to the needs of refugees, minister to them, pray with them, witness to them, and disciple them.
3) training 20-24 Interns from 15-20 churches to minister to, disciple, and evangelize refugees at Horizons’ centers and partner churches throughout Lebanon.
4) The expansion of Horizons’ existing network of partnering local churches, both quantitatively and qualitatively, deepening involvement with churches and partnering for local, national, and global ministry.
2019 Pastors Banquet
On March 12th at Le Royal Hotel in Beirut, Lebanon, Horizons International hosted our 4th Annual Pastors' Banquet to promote and celebrate the growing unity of the Lebanese Church. Leaders from churches and evangelical organizations all over the region attended the ceremony, making it the largest banquet in Horizons history.
Through our Lebanon headquarters in Beirut, as well as our lighthouse ministry centers throughout the country, Horizons finds ways to connect and partner with Lebanese churches and communities. Through our work to understand the needs of local church leaders, we provide necessary aid, resources, media assistance, and training to strengthen the Lebanese church in its mission to communicate the gospel confidently.
The Pastors' Banquet is an excellent indicator of Lebanese church leaders’ enthusiastic response. Four years ago, at the first annual banquet, representatives from only 25 churches attended—whereas this year, the banquet hosted representatives from 80 churches and organizations!
Procession of the Banquet
Horizons’ Director of Church Relations, Khalil Abdelahad, commenced the ceremony with a speech on the responsibility of every generation to incorporate their lives in obedience to the Great Commission. Horizons' Director of Field Ministries, Boutros Wehbe, followed the opening remarks with a time of praise and worship as he sang songs from his new album, Omri Elak (My Life Is Yours). Pierre Houssney, Horizons Executive Director, then shared about his calling to serve the Church in Lebanon and the strategic vision of Horizons supporting Evangelical Churches throughout the region.
Georges Houssney presented a powerful challenge to the church leaders, emphasizing the ultimate importance of the Great Commission as the mission of everyone in the Church. He then presented honorary plaques to three prominent leaders of Lebanon's evangelical community for their numerous contributions in service to God and the nation:
• Dr. Salim Sahyouni – Former President of the Evangelical Community in Syria and Lebanon
• Joseph Kassab – Newly elected leader of the Evangelical Supreme Council
• Dr. Edgard Traboulsi – Member of Parliament in the Lebanese Government
The banquet was a success, and a historic opportunity to gather such a large number of Lebanese pastors and esteemed guests. The attendees expressed their admiration for the event and commended the role of Horizons International in supporting the Church, in Lebanon and throughout the Middle East.