Birth of Baptist School in Baghdad

( [email protected] ) Oct 20, 2003 01:32 PM EDT

A self-supporting Baptist school is in the process of being established in Baghdad, Iraq through the work of Southern Baptist missionaries Brian and Vicki Barlow who began work at the Baptist school in Amman, Jordan, in 1997.

Due to active fundamentalism and other political tensions throughout the Middle East and North Africa, it has become less fervent to establish ministries including Baptist schools since 1960s. Barlow said there has been zero interest in bringing educational institutions to promote evangelism and church planting in the region. But now he feels the time is right to start Baptist school in Baghdad.

The main purpose of the school is to serve its Muslim and Christian students by providing excellent academic instruction as a center of an educational ministry. The school will also have a community library open in the evenings to college and university students. Besides its academic purpose, it also reaches out to the students through an after-school program of sports and social clubs. The school will also broadcast educational and Christian-related programming by hosting a community radio station. The facilities are open to the public for the children of community and all churches.

The estimated cost for the school is $5.5 million USD. This money will be used for purchasing land, building or renovating school buildings and a national education training center, furnishing and equipping the school and training center, and funding initial operating expenses. The school and training center will run autonomously after the first year of operation.

During an interview with Florida Baptist Witness, Barlow said, "We are fully partnering with the Lebanese to make that dream a reality. Partnering with likeminded persons and other international organizations, the [newly established] Baptist Union of Iraq is in the process of raising capital funding to build the school." He said the Baghdad Baptist School will serve as a “hub” where all the evangelical teachers and staff gather to share ministry ideas.