Various passages of the Bible portray worship as deep admiration and reverence for God. Pierre Houssney, MENA Regional Director with Horizons International, says he has heard the whole purpose of the Great Commission described as just that through worship arts.
He wants to “see the problem, which is that not everybody is worshiping God, be solved by everybody experiencing Christ, experiencing salvation through Jesus, and being reconciled with God so that they can experience their Creator and be worshipping their Creator,” Houssney says.
Western churches invest a lot of resources in creating relevant and beautiful worship. However, the Arab Church often has only translations of hymns from missionaries who visited decades prior.
“In the Middle East, there’s a big need to be developing more and more worship that is authentic to the culture of the Middle Easterners in the Arabic language, and not only the Arabic language but the Arabic music styles,” Houssney explains.
This is why Horizons International is investing in churches to help “facilitate the development of more authentic forms of worship for the Middle Eastern Church”.
Houssney says more authentic forms of worship in the Middle Eastern Church also provide an avenue to reach out to more non-Christians.
“The authentic music of the Arab world is what touches the hearts of most Arab speaking Muslims. So, to have worship that is in that language is a very powerful evangelistic tool,” Houssney says.
The task is daunting and requires a few puzzle pieces, but it is worth the work. Horizons International has already produced an album featuring Arabic style worship music. Now, the ministry is partnering with churches in Lebanon to meet this challenge.
Empowering Arab Churches
Horizons International utilizes its Middle East Center for World Missions to hold worship arts seminars. During its second event of the year, Horizons International hosted a team from Hollywood to lend its expertise. The ministry has registered hundreds of young and growing creatives to talk about Biblical leadership and dig into the different parts creating worship arts.
“That’s the kind of opportunity that we see where there’s a synergy starting to happen when you bring people together around worship arts. You’re bringing people from multiple different churches that all have the same heart for worship arts,” Houssney says.
“And that’s where we’re seeing just the very beginnings of what we’d like to see, which is just a wellspring of creativity and Middle Eastern people that are creating Middle Eastern worship for the church and the Middle East.
Pray for these churches and their congregations to have hearts of reverence for God. Pray for the necessary resources for these churches to build a culturally relevant worship arts program. And pray God uses it as a witness to all others in the Middle East.