On Oct. 31, the Lutheran Hour Ministries (LHM) office in Beirut, Lebanon, began broadcasting Arabic-language Christian programming that will reach predominantly young-adult audiences in Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen, the Palestinian Territories and northern Sudan.
LHM–Lebanon, known locally as Middle East Lutheran Ministries (MELM), writes and produces one original program that airs weekly, as well as shorter spots that air twice daily to advertise the weekly program and offer Bible correspondence courses.
“We are working harder than ever to reach ‘unreached people groups,’ which includes those who have grown up in that region of the world with limited opportunities to hear the Gospel message,” said Eric Gates, LHM’s area counselor for Africa and the Middle East. “Recent political developments in the region highlight how important it is to make the Gospel available to them right now.”
The Rev. Dr. Douglas Rutt, director of International Ministries with LHM, noted the significance of the program’s launch on Reformation Day. “One of the things that gave the Reformation its impetus was a shift to use of the vernacular in preaching, teaching and worship,” Rutt said. “Today, again, the Gospel is about to reach people — hundreds of thousands — in a language they can understand. This is an exciting time, and we are excited God has led us to take this important step.”
LHM expects the new program’s audience to be primarily university students and young adults. According to Gates, more than 70 percent of adults ages 18 to 35 listen regularly to radio programs.
“It used to be that listeners would respond with postcards,” he said. “But when these young, ‘digital native’ listeners contact us, they’ll use email, text messaging, or even social-media websites. We’re prepared with resources to help them understand what they hear.”
The Rev. Dr. Ken Klaus, speaker emeritus of “The Lutheran Hour” radio program, sees broadcasting to this audience as “an incredibly pure form of evangelism — which we undertake relying on the promise that the Lord’s Word will accomplish its purpose.”
LHM proclaims the Gospel of Jesus Christ worldwide, using a variety of venues and media — such as locally-produced radio broadcasts — that are tailored to specific cultures.
Each LHM ministry center, including MELM, is staffed almost entirely by nationals of the country in which the center is located.
In order to carry out its mission of “Bringing Christ to the Nations — and the Nations to the Church,” Lutheran Hour Ministries offers, through its 31 international ministry centers, a variety of methods and programs, including Bible correspondence courses, “Equipping the Saints” evangelism workshops, holistic programs that address both physical and spiritual needs, performing-arts ministries, rallies and youth-centered programs.
To learn more, visit www.lhm.org/international.
Posted Nov. 10, 2011