Reaching the Muslim world through house churches
Egypt is the largest Arab country and plays a central role in Middle Eastern politics. Civil and political unrest continue to threaten the country, and hostility toward Christians is undeniable. Nearly 90% of the population are Muslim, the remaining 10% are mostly Coptic-Orthodox Christians with Evangelical Christianity claiming less than 3% of this vast, influential country.
AREAS OF IMPACT
Since 2015, we have partnered with Near East Outreach (NEO) which works with church leaders throughout the Middle East –Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Iraq – to create house churches (cell groups), leadership training, and outreach programs for the marginalized. NEO has mobilized a large group of Christian volunteers to begin in-home Bible studies which continue to gain momentum and bring thousands of Egyptians into contact with the gospel message of Jesus. Their outreach also includes working with abused women, individuals with disabilities, and street children.
NEO's network of in-home Bible studies are bringing hope to some of the most vulnerable and oppressed. Many small groups have formed around the marginalized– abused women, and those physically or mentally disabled – and are bringing transformation to the "outcast" culture of this part of the world. Many are drawn in to learn more about Jesus because of this inclusive, loving, and affirming behavior toward those forgotten and neglected. These Bible studies often turn into house churches, and more than 2,000 people in Egypt came to know Christ last year alone – even in areas of significant persecution.
NEO's practice of training leaders closely aligned with Kensington's value, Through Others – to make disciples who make disciples. NEO equips lay leaders to start Discovery Bible Studies which lay a foundation in Christianity, and lay leaders are also trained in inductive bible study and key concepts of Scripture. Leaders of these studies often include the most marginalized themselves, and we have witnessed firsthand handicapped leaders dragging themselves into homes to hold studies.
Through our partnership with NEO, outreach programs are actually reaching those on the outside – those ostracized and isolated: the disabled, oppressed women, and street kids. And it's not just about meeting basic needs. NEO holds parties for families of children with disabilities so they can experience the joy of community and celebration – something never before experienced. Without societal compassion, and not safety net or social services, these families often live in isolation and shame. Kensington staff members who have visited these outreach programs, recall that the most beautiful expressions of worship and gratitude were from several men in wheelchairs.