“Our goal is to have 50 percent nationals in our teams by the end of 2021,” shared the leader of OM's work in the Middle East and North Africa. “The present corona crisis has served as an accelerator as well as an opportunity to meet this goal, as it has become more difficult for expatriates to travel and gain visas for several countries in the region.”

Near-culture and same-culture workers have by far the biggest potential to become highly effective church planters, according to the leader.  The OM teams in the region therefore strongly focus on efforts to motivate, train, and develop local leaders, as well as adapting their structures according to the needs of nationals. This includes translating key training material and expanding their Arab-language web presence. OM is also aiming to develop six regional Arabic-language TeenStreet events for local Christian teenagers. Four countries are already on board.

“Such an event,” explained the leader, “helps teens from a Christian background develop attitudes free from mistrust and animosity towards people from other faith backgrounds. We find that TeenStreet builds community and serves to disciple and build up a new generation of young nationals to reach out to their own people.”

One country in the region has a large movement of Muslims turning to Christ and will play a key role in sending Arabs into neighbouring countries. “The potential of these Christians in reaching their neighbours is amazing,” said the leader. “OM’s team on the ground there is experienced and strong. One main hope is to see many national Christians move towards church planting among the peoples in MENA.”

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