The aim of our partnerships is to encourage the development of meaningful relationships between churches in the United States and those in Syria and Lebanon.
Our Partnership Program is somewhat new and still in its beginning stages; it continues to be in flux with the changing conditions in the region. Because of this we ask churches to begin slowly and to bring expectations that are realistic in terms of what is happening among the churches of National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon (NESSL).
We invite you to start by selecting a NESSL congregation and by mobilizing prayer groups within your community for that church partner. During this time, we recommend learning together all you can about the particular congregation you have chosen, the name of the pastor and leadership, where the church is located, what they have experienced and what specific challenges they are currently facing. Secondly, the SLPN can help by working to connect you with a leader in the congregation you have selected, in hopes that some contact can be maintained between churches. This may take some time and, even when it is established, it may be inconsistent with long periods of no-response. This is understandable for obvious reasons. Nonetheless, our continuing commitment to pray is very meaningful and encouraging to these churches who are living with so much uncertainty.
If you have questions about, or are interested in partnering with a NESSL congregation, please contact Rev. Tim McCalmont, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Relationship Building: This initiative is about building relationships. We want to come alongside, support, and encourage our brothers and sisters in this very dangerous and conflicted area of the Middle East.
Mutuality: Relationship is a two-way street; pray for each other. ALL need prayer, but do avoid coming to a partner congregation in any paternalistic manner. Share the needs of your congregation, as appropriate, so a partner can pray for your church.
Respect: Communications need to be a made through respectful exchanges. Americans are inspired by the brave and courageous ways our brothers and sisters remain faithful in Syria and Lebanon. They in turn see how US churches create a Christian witness in an increasingly secular society that suffers from racism and injustice.
Length of the Commitment: SLPN asks that you make a long-term commitment. A healthy relationship takes years to unfold and develop, but this kind of relationship will be more challenging, as it involves much distance and is cross-cultural. US partners should be as consistent and responsive as possible. There may be long periods of times when communication is not possible for Middle East partners, but do respond quickly when you receive a communication. Have patience when such time lapses occur.
Prayer: Prayer has been a significant part of our work on all levels. Take time to pray as you consider a partnership. When you establish a partnership, pray prior to writing out your messages. It is so important to our friends in Syria and Lebanon that prayers are being offered for them by those of us in this country. Ask your congregation to pray in your worship services, mission committee meetings, session meetings, as well as in personal prayer time. Consistent prayer over time really makes an impact on us all and does make a difference.