This school recently completed the rigorous candidacy process for membership with The Master’s Academy International, successfully meeting strict academic, financial, and doctrinal standards. Due to the sensitive nature of gospel ministry in the Middle East, the names of people and places have been changed or omitted from the following article. This is done in an effort to protect the identities and ongoing ministries of those who’ve devoted their lives to building up the church in the Arabic-speaking world.
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Last December, TMAI’s training center in the Middle East graduated its very first cohort. How many students, you ask? “I’m going to give you a big number,” jokes faculty member S. “It’s four!”
As S. acknowledges, a graduating class of just four students might seem like a humble beginning. But the opportunities facing this new training center—and now its four alumni—are anything but small. TMAI is strategically placed for significant ministry in the Arabic-speaking world, and last December’s graduation is just the beginning. There is no other institution at all that has a full program in expository preaching in Arabic
In fact, the training center has already launched an extension campus in a neighboring country. Nearly 80% of the students at the new extension campus are already pastoring churches throughout the country, but these humble and faithful men see the need for greater training in expository preaching. “In both countries, there is no other institution at all that has a full program in expository preaching in Arabic,” says S. “So—by God’s grace—we have a specialty that we get to offer, and that’s exciting.”
The training center envisions someday equipping biblical expositors across the Arabic-speaking world—about 20 countries (where the dominant religion is Islam), and anywhere between 250 and 400 million people.
That might seem a daunting goal for the fledgling training center, but by God’s grace, it’s not an impossible one. They’re already well on their way. In addition to the extension campus, they’ve already received numerous invitations from churches and institutions to establish similar expository preaching programs in other Arabic-speaking countries. “We are very excited about what the Lord is doing in the Middle East,” S. says. “I’m excited for the future, because I know the Word of God changes people.”
But even though the vastness of opportunity is exhilarating, the need in the Middle East is fast outpacing the team’s limited resources. And a lack of manpower or financial support are not the only obstacles to gospel ministry in the Middle East, either. In many Arabic-speaking countries, it’s illegal to proselytize—or even to change religions. It’s certainly true that there is no such thing as an easy mission field. But even if there were, the Middle East wouldn’t be considered one of them.
So how can you help? Most importantly, you can pray:
- For the current students and alumni: Especially in the midst of such a hostile environment, biblically qualified pastors are essential to the church. S. explains, “We need graduates who can not only exposit, but who will mature into good shepherds and good disciple-makers who will come alongside people and really live out an expository ministry—not just speak one.” Pray that TMAI’s students would learn to be faithful expositors and godly churchmen.
- For the training center: Please pray that God would continue to send the right students—and perhaps more urgently, the right faculty members, men who want to devote their lives to strengthening the Arabic church by investing in the next generation of pastor-teachers.
- For the church throughout the Arabic-speaking world: Pray for the church’s witness to a predominantly Muslim culture. And pray that God would raise up true shepherds to rightly handle His Word and faithfully feed the flock in the Middle East.
Thanks for praying with us. If you’d like to contribute to the school’s financial needs, you can also do that HERE.
You don’t have to search far in Scripture to see that small numbers and humble beginnings are no obstacle to the power of God. On the contrary, they tend to serve as the very theater for its most glorious display. We look forward to keeping you updated about the work the Lord is doing through this new training center as the light of His Word continues to shine more and more brightly in the Middle East.
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Would you like to support TMAI in the Middle East?
There are many ways to support the work of TMAI in the Middle East—most importantly through your prayers. In addition to prayer, you can contribute financially HERE. To discuss other giving options, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.