Egypt is one of the largest countries in the Arab World with a population of almost 104 million people. It contains the largest Christian minority within the Middle East. Between 10-15% of the population belongs to the Coptic Orthodox Church. There are also significant Catholic and Protestant communities.
Veritas has been involved in Egypt since 1997 and over the years the work has grown under God’s blessing to become one of the largest Christian training ministries in the entire country. In the past year 1169 modules were completed with participants from almost all the provinces in the country currently enrolled in the Veritas programme.
Because training takes place in so many different areas the participants vary significantly. On any given day the training may run in Cairo focussing on urban professionals while in Upper Egypt many subsistence farmers may be in attendance. However, all the participants have been selected by their churches as having significant leadership potential and are in a ministry that would benefit from the Veritas training. About 7% of the participants are trained pastors while the rest are involved in lay ministry.
The Veritas programme and philosophy especially impact the next generation of church leaders as a significant percentage of participants falls into the 25-40 age-group. It is also very encouraging that many churches actively encourage women leaders to benefit from the training.
The training in Egypt is done mainly through the local church, according to the local church needs and context. It can occur weekly, fortnightly, monthly or as an intensive training. Participants learn together and apply what they have learnt in the church. In this way the church can train more leaders without them having to leave the church to go for training elsewhere. Sometimes the training is done through training conferences with follow up sessions in local areas. For example, the participants would attend a conference introducing a specific module and then go back home where they will do some practical exegesis and ministry tasks under the leadership of trained local facilitators in their local churches.
Veritas College focusses on ministry skills such as how to prepare and deliver a short Biblical message, how to do evangelism, how to lead a Bible study group (including the skills needed for group dynamics), how to prepare a Bible study for children, how to do Biblical counselling and how to develop a strategy plan for church ministry.
Training is provided on three levels:
- Foundation Training that is non-formal
- Diploma Training that leads to Australian accredited qualifications
- Graduate Training that leads to USA authorised qualifications.
The work in Egypt operates under the leadership of a local board consisting of respected and experienced Christian leaders. Some of the Egyptian staff work from an office in Cairo while others are based in regional areas. About 50 people from all over Egypt also regularly volunteer their services in a variety of ways.
God has granted wonderful growth through the years. The ministry, however, faces a number of challenges for which prayer would be appreciated:
- To continue to grow the ministry.
- To branch into new areas.
Veritas enjoys good relationships with churches from across the denominational spectrum, and is an active member of the Evangelical Fellowship of Egypt.