Lebanon (MNN) — Arab Baptist Theological Seminary (ABTS) announced a new partnership with the Arabic Nazarene Bible College that will introduce new perspectives and continue a pattern of cross-denominational collaboration.
Arabic Nazarene Bible College operates a semi-formal training program in Lebanon and Jordan training church members. Already, ABTS has a faculty member who belongs to Arabic Nazarene’s faculty. Elie Haddad of ABTS explains that when pursuing partnerships, through faculty or others, the seminary is careful to consider their partner organizations too.
“We do not want to grow ABTS at the expense of others. We didn’t want to draw faculty from [Arabic Nazarene Bible College] to ABTS. We [are looking for] a win-win situation,” he says.
“We approached them, and we’ve had multiple conversations. There was excitement on both sides [for] some kind of collaboration where we can leverage the strengths of each school.”
The key to this partnership is a willingness for those involved to collaborate with people who have slightly different beliefs. Haddad believes this cooperation is coming at a good time.
“This seems to be the right time for our church communities to be thinking beyond denominational lines. I think this is a very good story of success for the church community in Lebanon and Jordan,” he says.
Haddad outlines what this collaboration will look like for ABTS and its students.
“The first level of collaboration is [hiring] Nazarene faculty [so] Nazarene students would start to enroll at ABTS. Initially, extra material that’s not part of our curriculum [but] is needed for ordination by the Nazarene church will be given informally by the Nazarene church,” Haddad explains.
“Little by little, we [will] take those components and add them to our curriculum [so] Nazarene students as well as ABTS students will be able to take these specially focused courses.”
Haddad says both parties hope these beginning steps will go smoothly, allowing the collaboration to culminate in the creation of The Arab Center for Wesleyan Studies at ABTS. This center would benefit both students from congregations with Wesleyan theology and students who simply want to learn more.
Power of Prayer
As ABTS continues to forge partnerships and grow, Haddad asks for prayer.
“ABTS has been operating outside its denominational lines for a while. We’d like the relationship with the Nazarene to be a prototype for other relationships. You know, we’re all small here in the Arab world. With small churches, we can be eaten alive very easily if we don’t get together and collaborate,” he explains.
“Pray that there will be more and more openness for working together [across] different denominational lines [and] that would strengthen the work of the kingdom in the region.”
You can visit ABTS’s website here to learn more about how you can be supporting and praying for their mission and seminary education in the Middle East.
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