Church growth – past and present
Population: 40.3 million; 99% Muslim; <1% Christian
Literacy: 87% men; 73% women
What is now Algeria was once home to Saint Augustine (AD 354-430), one of the Church’s foremost theologians. Christianity flourished here between the fifth and seventh centuries but gradually disappeared after the Arab invasions. Although new churches were started under French rule, since independence in 1962 an entirely local church has been born among the Berber people. Its astonishing growth in the last few decades is thought to be the fastest in the Arab world – several thousand new believers are baptised every year.
Whilst the growth of the Church here is exciting and encouraging, it also brings challenges. Within this ‘First-Generation Church’ there is a great need for discipleship, strong biblical teaching and encouragement for believers to daily live out their new-found faith. Such a radical change in their worldview means that new Christians are often left with questions and face many challenges.
SAT-7 is responding to this need by broadcasting a range of programmes to encourage and disciple Algerian believers.
Viewers have the opportunity to experience worship services and biblical preaching through My Church in Algeria. This broadcasts every week from a large, Kabyle-speaking church in Northern Algeria. Around 1,000 people attend the services and approximately 80 new believers are baptised each month.
Bible Teaching from Algeria, presented by Pastors Saleh Shlah and Farid El-Amry, explores the main concepts of Christianity and provides practical guidance from the Bible to help individuals with questions that they may have as new believers. The programme’s producer, Salah Kessai, highlights the importance of this programme in countering unhelpful doctrines and helping illiterate people understand how they can communicate with God each day through prayer and worship. Recent episodes have unpacked the concept of a Christian’s identity as a son or daughter of God, how they have been accepted through Christ and born again through the Holy Spirit.
Inspiration and encouragement
SAT-7 is also currently airing the second season of testimony series, Free Souls. Produced and presented by Samia Jallali Kessai, Free Souls features the strong personal testimonies of women from Algeria and other North African countries who are eager to tell how they chose to follow Christ, even at great personal risk. Their stories are an inspiration and encouragement to others.
One Algerian Berber viewer contacted SAT-7 to say, “Every Tuesday night I call my friends in the village (some of them are not believers) and ask them to join my family to watch together the testimonies of brothers and sisters in My Church who came to know the Lord. God changed their lives! We even watch the re-run on Fridays. We need these kinds of programmes!”
Recent research into SAT-7’s audience demonstrates the spiritual hunger of this young Church in Algeria, with around 1 million viewers. Whilst many Algerians are unable to leave their homes or simply live too far to travel to a church, SAT-7’s programmes are able to share God’s love with seekers and disciple believers across this country with the truth of God’s word.
- Give thanks for the growth of the Berber church and for the several thousand new believers who are baptised every year. Pray for SAT-7’s series, Free Souls that features strong personal testimonies of women from Algeria.
- Pray that live on-air testimonies will continue to be an inspiration and encouragement to others. Pray for Bible Teaching from Algeria as it helps people to understand how they can communicate with God each day through prayer and worship. Pray for the continued spiritual hunger of this young Church in Algeria.
- Ask that SAT-7 will effectively share God’s love with seekers and disciple believers with the truth of God’s word. Pray for Algerian Berber viewers who contact SAT-7 to share that “We need these kinds of programmes!”