Over the years one observation that I have made is that God moves and raises up church planters in his timing and sometimes when we least expect it.
When our area first started receiving Nepali Refugees in 2009, we prayed and worked with churches to raise up leaders. For many years we had one Nepali Church that was SBC. In the past seven years, God has moved in a great way and now there are ten SBC Nepali Churches in the Greater Cincinnati area with a few more possibly being planted soon.
A few years ago, the first Arabic Church was planted in Cincinnati. Amer Safadi became the Pastor of the Arabic Church of Cincinnati. God has now blessed Amer’s ministry and is using him to train more Arabic Pastors to plant in other cities. The first Arabic church planting conference was held November 28th-30th in partnership with the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio. At that conference, there were fourteen church planters from six states. The planters were originally from Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Palestine, Pakistan, and the Sudan. Nine of these planters will plant a church in 2023.
The speakers included several SCBO staff, Pastor and SCM, Travis Smalley, and Pastor Amer. Dr. Jeremy Westbrook with the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio spoke and presented a compelling challenge to potential planters. Next year’s conference takes place in Michigan July 13th-15th. There are currently plans to plant Arabic churches in Northern Kentucky and Columbus.
Other cities need Arabic speaking churches as well. Several will move to Cincinnati to complete a residency working with Amer, then be sent out to plant churches to reach the Arabic speaking population.
It is amazing to see all that the Lord is doing right here in Cincinnati. We are praying that the Lord will raise up leaders amongst the Spanish speaking population so that seven years from now we can count many Spanish speaking churches that the Lord has birthed.
Amer and the other church planters in Cincinnati are helped by your gifts to the Cooperative program and Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. Thank you for your support both by praying for our church planters and supporting them financially.
Oliver Hawkins serves as NAMB's Church Planting Catalyst for the Cincinnati Area