Biblical Training

In order to serve the churches effectively, MERF has established ministry centers in Larnaca (Cyprus), Lokichoggio (northwestern Kenya), Cairo (Egypt), Beirut (Lebanon), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Sulawesi and Java (Indonesia). These centers provide biblical training opportunities for local workers. They also include libraries and research facilities which are made available for pastors and others to strengthen their scriptural and theological knowledge in a practical way through structured or independent study to equip them for effective ministries. MERF offers three distinct, yet interrelated programs. Each is named after a prominent church father indigenous to the region.

The Augustine Program

Augustine (354-430), a sound North African church father, represents the glorious past of the Christian heritage for this part of the world. This program is designed for pastors and lay leaders to help them gain further practical knowledge of the Scriptures and theology without leaving their fields of ministry for a long time. Thus, it serves as the backbone of all MERF's training endeavors. The main strategy of the program is to provide as much helpful training to as many leaders as possible at the most reasonable cost. This is done through organized study terms for selected groups of trainees. Some of those who go through such training are selected for more intensive training in research terms which are designed for smaller groups. Moreover, MERF organizes other regional training activities, including conferences, workshops, seminars, etc., under the sponsorship and oversight of local ecclesiastical bodies.

The Athanasius Program

Athanasius of Alexandria (296-372) was an important figure in church history who valiantly defended the doctrine of Christ, which constitutes the major obstacle to Muslims. The strategy of the program is to provide intensive training to the most qualified of the Muslim converts. The program aims to give an adequate knowledge of the Scriptures and basic doctrines as well as the tools for the study and teaching of Bible to others. Since no professional pastors can be provided in most Muslim countries, this program is geared to provide solid lay leadership for these converts, to instruct them in the Scriptures, until they are able to make public professions of faith and become part of organized local churches.

The John of Damascus Program

Following the example of the knowledge, courage and zeal of John of Damascus (675-749), MERF seeks to offer this program as a service to Western believers and others. It is designed for those who are especially drawn to serve Christ among immigrants in their own countries. The strategy of the program is to orient qualified individuals for effective outreach among Muslims. In addition to the study of Muslim beliefs, practices and history, the program provides insights into Muslim cultures and societies. Also, attention is given to current trends and developments in the Muslim world. Some firsthand experience in short periods of internship with some churches in field countries is possible as part of this program.

The John Calvin Centre

In order to serve the churches effectively, MERF has established in Cyprus the John Calvin Center for training and study. The research facilities are available for pastors and others to strengthen their scriptural and theological knowledge in a practical way through structured or independent study to equip them for effective ministries. This includes a growing library of literature and audiovisual materials on a wide range of topics.