lebanon missions gospel

Though Lebanon conjures up images of civil war, refugees and a history of violence and sectarian factions, it offers openness to the gospel unlike any other Arab country.

Lebanon is the most diverse country in the Middle East. Throughout history, both ancient and modern, Lebanon has been a refuge for social, racial, and religious minorities. It continues to serve as the middle eastern melting pot of cultures and religions. Unlike other Arab countries, Lebanon’s civil system is based on a Christian foundation, even though the majority population is Muslim, which affords believers a freedom of gospel expression.

Since 2011, at least a million and a half Syrian refugees have poured into the country (more than half of these refugees are children), and countless souls are finding hope in Jesus. Churches have become flooded with refugees who are seeking physical, emotional and spiritual aid. Many churches and outreach organizations are under-resourced to meet the needs in their communities.

MISSIONAL FOCUS

Our missional focus in Lebanon is to help support the local church and resource indigenous ministry leaders to empower the lives of vulnerable children in the region, and to help mobilize mission teams to serve orphans, refugees, and street kids. In 2017, we're helping to launch a new summer camp in Beirut.

Pray for the Spirit of God to move across Lebanon, sparking a rich harvest of spiritual seekers. Pray for Lebanon to maintain peace amidst conflicts in neighboring countries. Pray for the local church to be mobilized to lead efforts in relief, evangelism, and discipleship.

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MORE ABOUT LEBANON

Population: 5.9 million

Languages: Arabic (official), English, French

State of the church: Lebanon recognizes 18 official religions (four Muslim, one Druze, one Jewish, and 12 Christian), but less than 0.1% of the overall population belongs to the evangelical church. Muslims make up 58 percent of the population; Christians represent 31 percent. Although the majority of Lebanese are Muslims, the government is secular and its constitution grants freedom of religion. That freedom is tenuous, however, and coupled with political conflicts and economic instability, has prompted a large-scale emigration of Christians over the past 40 years.

A fertile, mountainous state, the Republic of Lebanon is located between Israel and Syria in the East Mediterranean. The picturesque Bekaa Valley is the primary agricultural region and comprises 40 percent of its arable land. As mentioned in the Old Testament, Lebanon was covered by large forests of cedar trees in ancient times. Although only 13 percent of the land is forested today, the cedar tree remains the national emblem of the country.

Lebanon has a rich history of ethnic and religious diversity. The earliest evidence of human settlement in Lebanon dates back over 7,000 years ago. The territory was home to the ancient Phoenicians for over a thousand years before the birth of Christ and came under Roman rule in 64 B.C. Following conquest by the Ottoman Turks, the region remained under their control for centuries until the empire´s collapse in the early 1900s. The five provinces constituting modern-day Lebanon became Mandates of France after World War I. Lebanon gained independence in 1943.

The capital city of Beirut became a hub for tourism and banking and brought great prosperity to the country. In its heyday, Lebanon was referred to as the “Switzerland of the East.” Civil War in the 1970s and 1980s wrecked the infrastructure and crippled its economy. The country rebuilt by borrowing heavily, thus saddling the government with a huge debt burden.

Lebanon’s free market economy provides opportunity for growth, especially in service-oriented sectors such as banking and tourism. However, ongoing conflicts in neighboring countries make most investments in the country high risk. Additionally, planned reforms or restructuring often face delays due to corruption, arbitrary licensing decisions, high taxes, and outdated legislation.