Arabic Christian programming has its sights set on MTV, leveraging Facebook
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Beirut, Lebanon
When evangelist and Nazarene Broadcasting and Communications Ministry Director for the Middle East Ayman Kafrouny started a Facebook page with his friend about their upcoming revival meetings and Christian TV shows, they never imagined it would draw almost a quarter of a million followers.

The page translates in English as A Million Arab Christians Love Jesus Christ and was created to notify Arabic-speaking people around the world about what was happening in their ministry.

Kafrouny’s worldwide Christian conferences, some of which are rebroadcast on a Christian Arabic satellite TV station, as well as his television show called Aktar Min Kalam (More Than Words), have attracted the attention of MTV Lebanon, the number one secular TV station in Lebanon.

The owner of MTV Lebanon expressed interest in broadcasting a Christian series during the four weeks leading up to Easter. The high public interest in Kafrouny’s concerts and programming reflects a growing hunger in the Arabic Christian population for good quality Christian programs.

“This is going to be something very important for us,” said Kafrouny, who is planning the new series for MTV. “Even though we don’t have a hundred percent guarantee that MTV will broadcast the show, our chances are very high; that’s why we are now working to produce a very professional show so that we can take advantage of this amazing opportunity. This is now our main project and goal.”

Formerly a secular singer and songwriter popular with Arabic-speaking people around the world, Kafrouny has a good relationship with MTV Lebanon – it was his sponsor for 10 years. The owner told him that if he could create a well-produced show, they would broadcast at least 16 to 20 episodes during the one-month fasting period prior to Easter.

Christians often look for seasonal programs to watch during this time, he said.

Kafrouny is adept at using popular forms of media to reach Arabic-speaking people worldwide. For instance, Facebook is playing a greater role in his ministry.

When he first started using the social network site, he quickly hit the maximum of 5,000 people allowed to be “friends” on the account. He opened a second account, which also reached the limit – with an additional 1,500 requests. After having four accounts totaling 20,000 people, he decided to open a “page.”

Today Kafrouny has six pages on Facebook; one of those pages has 234,493 followers. His goal is to reach one million.

He uses the page to promote The Great Doctor, a revival ministry he operates with his friend, a well-known Arabic Christian evangelist Zakaria Estawro. Together, they take their meetings on international tours in which Kafrouny leads worship and Estawro preaches.

“As Estawro is from Egypt and I am from Lebanon, it is a very good combination to reach out to the Arab people,” Kafrouny said.

Videos of the services and their TV shows are linked on the Facebook site.

“Usually after we post the episode, within two days you can see on Vimeo – a video hosting website - and YouTube anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 people watching the episode online, and they add comments about it on Facebook,” Kafrouny said.

Facebook also markets his Nazarene World Mission Broadcast-funded TV program, Aktar Min Kalam, launched in 2009 with 78 episodes to date.

At every Great Doctor conference, at least one person mentions hearing about it through Facebook, he said.

The Great Doctor started in Toronto in 2004, with about 4,000 attendees. The 2011 tour next heads to France in October, followed by the U.S. (which includes English translation), concluding the year in Abu Dhabi and starting next year in Qatar. The tour schedule is set for two more years.

“Our goal is not to go to one specific church, especially in the states,” Kafrouny said. “We gather all the churches from all the denominations and we ask them to take a separate place that does not belong to any of these churches. We don’t want our ministry to be just for one church, but for all.”

After the live conference is broadcast on SAT-7 and Alkarma TV, both stations devote time to his complimentary studio-produced show, The Great Doctor, in 90-minute episodes, two times a week. In all, Kafrouny’s programming takes up 12 hours a week.

All broadcasts are in Arabic. In the future he would like to reach South America, but needs someone to translate the episodes from Arabic into Spanish.

“We are praying for the Lord to send us someone in that area to translate,” he said.

To become a follower of the page, A Million Arab Christians Love Jesus Christ, visit www.facebook.com/Yaso3.Elmasi7.

To see videos on Vimeo, visit www.vimeo.com/user7022147/videos.
--Eurasia Regional Office
Discuss Arabic Christian programming has its sights set on MTV, leveraging Facebook in our forum
Post a Message | Read Messages (0) | Report Abuse