The SBTC and International Mission Board have extended the “Beirut and Beyond” partnership through 2008, and the SBTC has expanded its role to facilitate work directly with Lebanese Baptists as well as IMB workers, said Terry Coy, SBTC ethnic church planting strategist.
Meanwhile, members of Southern Baptists of Texas Convention churches in Pflugerville and El Paso are back from a mission trip to Beirut?the first such trip since an SBTC contingent visited the Middle Eastern city last winter to evaluate an expanded missions partnership there.
The Arab Baptist Seminary sends pastors into other Arab countries, Coy said.
Rex Tillman, pastor of Exciting Immanuel Baptist Church in El Paso, and Mike Northen, associate pastor of First Baptist Church, Pflugerville, were among those who went to share the gospel in the predominately Muslim country.
Lebanon is the only country in the region with relative freedom of religion. Beirut‘s cosmopolitan atmosphere allows for a relatively free exchange of ideas and the city has a sizable culturally Christian populace.
Northen was among 14 people from Pflugerville who went to Beirut.
“We met with a group of leaders who pretty much said, ‘Ya’ll come help us know how to reach Arab Muslims,’ ” he said, relating it in Texas dialect.
“Our pastor (Steve Washburn) determined that we as a group were going to go. We met with these leaders and discovered there is a lot of things we need to do, but we need to do them with an understanding of their culture. (We need to do it) the way they would do it, not the way we would,” Northen said.
Among the things that needed to be done to reach people in Beirut were literature distribut