The third largest city on the Arabian has a population of over 3 million people and is a gateway city between Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. This city’s approach to attracting international business has made it one of the five fastest growing cities in the world. Over 200 nationalities live in the country where this city is located. The official religion of the country is Islam and a majority of the residents are Muslim. Even so, with 25% of the population hailing India, there is a significant population of Hindus as well.
Brian had the vision of planting a new, gospel-centered, Evangelical, English-speaking church in this city. To this end he developed a team of staff and volunteers to dream and envision a new church, Covenant Hope. The name comes from the concept of the new covenant established by the shed blood of Christ that makes eternal life with God available for anyone who would repent of their sin and trust in Him. This gospel is our great hope and the hope of the world. Covenant Hope Church was launched to equip Christians living there to proclaim the gospel of salvation that comes only through Jesus Christ and to live lives that commend the gospel through their love for one another and their deeds of mercy in the community.
On Easter weekend 2017 Covenant Hope held her first worship service. Because it is located in a Muslim country where the weekend is Friday-Saturday, and everyone recognizes that Friday is the day of worship, the service was actually held on Friday, the normal day for Christian church services in this country. One-hundred and seventy people attended the service, and quite a few even gathered on the beach on Sunday morning (before work) for a sunrise service. The church is now meeting regularly, developing community groups, training leaders, and mobilizing people for evangelism. Even in the first year, the church has already attracted people from over 15 nationalities.
The diversity of this city provides a unique opportunity to proclaim a gospel that breaks down the walls that separate people from each other and unite them around Christ and His redeeming work. As people gather for worship, then continue with fellowship after the service and throughout the week, they send a message to the highly stratified society of their city. Despite coming from different countries, religious backgrounds, and economic classes, they have found a greater commonality in being redeemed by Christ and restored to fellowship with God through Him. This unity across social and racial lines is an integral part of how the gospel is proclaimed through Covenant Hope Church.
Second’s involvement with Covenant Hope is an integral part of the way we engage in church planting and evangelism. Our mission partner is working to establish a coalition of many nationalities, a dynamic multi-ethnic church, that will serve as a base of outreach to equip and empower believers to reach out to youth, university students, co-workers, fellow expatriates, and diverse friends in the Arabian Peninsula. Both through natural relationships and structured ministry settings new people can explore Christianity in a safe and open environment. Brian and his team are one of a number of Second’s partners who are seeking to expand God’s Kingdom through planting churches in today’s global cities.