Arab Spring Opens Doors

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A recent gathering of organizations working in the Middle East and North Africa highlighted the effect of the movement commonly known as “Arab Spring” upon the Gospel. Across more than 140 efforts, from Satellite Television, to Church Planting, to Literature Distribution to Social Media to Relief and Development efforts that strengthen local churches, a common theme emerged: Opportunities to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ have not been so strong in this region in hundreds of years.

One worker, whose father began a ministry in North Africa a generation ago, said, “In that time we had years go by without seeing a single person come to Christ, to seeing one or two come, but now we are seeing hundreds each year.”

Some of the key evidence shared by different speakers included these elements:

  1. People are giving up on Islam; the growth of outspoken atheists is a striking evidence of this.
  2. Muslim leaders have moved from public statements attacking Christianity to statements defending Islam, never before has a defense been necessary.
  3. The protests of “Arab Spring” have led to people being willing to be openly outspoken on issues.
  4. Muslims are reporting intense spiritual encounters with Jesus in dreams and visions.
  5. People are responding in growing numbers, whether to media outreaches or personal evangelism; churches are growing.
  6. Strong revival of Christians in the most difficult places, like war-torn Syria.

These unprecedented opportunities call for men and women of the Issachar mindset to be ready to act quickly and decisively. The door was open in Libya for only a few short weeks, but in that time thousands of Scriptures and other training materials were flooded into the country and are there now. A key focus also has to be on leadership training so that new converts who are community leaders can be grounded in faith and doctrine before channels of communication are cut off. A leadership shortage is already acute, workers knowledgeable about Iran reported, “Our churches there cannot handle all the converts.” Training and discipleship materials are in high demand so that error and heresy will not creep in.

Media ministries are seeing incredible growth, too. The explosion of social media has created a dialog between TV and internet outreach and an audience that responds to Facebook, Twitter and e-mail efforts to connect them. The most popular programs presenting the Gospel have literally millions of individuals responding each year. Personalized follow-up is a desperate need.

You can become a part of the “laborers” God is calling to this great harvest in several ways:

  • Encourage your church or group to focus some mission giving in the next year on the Middle East and North Africa.
  • Volunteer to connect with seekers from the region via one of the major outreach programs such as Global Media Outreach (www.GodLife.com) or directly with a broadcaster like Sat7 (www.sat7.org)
  • Learn how to engage people of Muslim Background and equip yourself and your church to engage them at home and abroad. A great resource is www.i2ministries.org.

Paul is Managing Partner and Founder of Strategic Resource Group.  More information can be requested at info@srginc.org.

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