The Middle East Consultation 2015 – Discipleship Today: Identity and Belonging in the Middle East & North Africa, 15 – 19 June 2015, will focus on specific opportunities and challenges related to “identity” and “belonging” that face followers of Jesus within the MENA context. These challenges are particularly important given the diverse socio-religious and cultural backgrounds of Christ-followers in the region and of those leaders who seek to disciple them.
We live in a world where belonging to multiple social and cultural traditions is the reality for many. Identity can be understood as a complex and multi-dimensional aspect of human life, formed in response to a variety of dynamic social, cultural, historical, political, religious and spiritual experiences and commitments within today’s globalized and interconnected world.
As such, the core of MEC 2015 will consist of listening to in-depth testimonies from those who live in the midst of specific challenges pertaining to identity and belonging. The consultation also provides an opportunity to reflect upon and analyze the diverse social and religious dynamics at hand through a process of theological reflection via round-table discussion, as well as conversations with global thinkers from diverse social and cultural backgrounds.
Leading global missiologists will present keynote presentations on a range of related themes, which will in turn be reflected upon and discussed by those personally facing such challenges in the region. This hermeneutical dynamic (or process of accountable theological reflection) provides a framework for mutual enrichment within the worldwide Body of Christ, one that we are sure will impact the future of Christ-centred witness in and beyond the MENA region. Some keynote presenters include the following respected scholar-practitioners:
- Dr. Tim Green, an expert on discipleship, training and intercultural relations,
- Dr. Evelyne Reisacher, professor of intercultural relations at Fuller Theology Seminary in Pasadena, Ca,
- Dr. Martin Accad, Director of the Institute of Middle East Studies at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary (ABTS) in Beirut, Lebanon.
- Additional speakers include an expert on leadership in the North African church and a leader from a Christ-following community in Bangladesh.
Daily morning devotions will be led by Rev. Dr. Hikmat Kashouh, professor of New Testament at ABTS, who will be exploring the biblical basis for what it means find one’s identity in Christ. This year’s consultation also features a series of practical workshops examining discipleship training courses, practical issues related to witness and discipleship with young people seeking faith, “adaptive” approaches to witness in the Arab world, and factors facilitating faith in the Arab world, among others. In addition, we have the added treat of poet Lucy Berry to share with us her reflections throughout the course of the consultation. The consultation is in both English and Arabic with simultaneous translation.
The International Journal of Frontier Missiology (IJFM) published a report by IMES on last year’s Middle East Consultation 2014 – Discipleship Today: Following Jesus in the Middle East and North Africa, including an outline of MEC 2015. Check it out here.