Ministry Determined to Build Christian Leaders for Iraq

( [email protected] ) Apr 21, 2004 01:23 PM EDT

A lack of Christian leadership is hindering Iraqi believers from planting much-needed churches in that nation. That's where an Atlanta-based ministry is stepping in, in an attempt to make a difference for Christ in the predominantly Muslim nation.

With the fall of Saddam Hussein, the Christian church in Iraq is experiencing explosive growth. But along with that growth is a serious lack of church leaders and available resources that could hinder the growth of emerging churches. That is why Equip, a ministry that provides leadership development for Christians worldwide, is committing resources and personnel to train Iraqi church leaders.

Equip president John Hull says training will continue even with the volatile situation in the war-torn nation.

"The Coalition transition does not work if democracy does not take root," Hull explains. "Then there's great concern that [Iraqis] could be at even greater risk for their safety and security should there be some radical elements that would take over again if democracy doesn't take root."

Hull says there is great openness to the Gospel in Iraq, partly because of the new freedoms being experienced in the post-Saddam era.

"This is the first time in generations that there has been freedom," he says, including the freedom to worship freely and to learn what it means to "network and partner" with other churches in a nation whose infrastructure he says has been "severely limited by Saddam's own selfishness."

Iraq, Hull says, is a country that is trying to "find itself and its new identity," a process from which has evolved a "macro-culture" that is making its way into the church as well.

Equip was founded by author and Bible teacher John Maxwell.