By Lena Costa, daughter of Rev. Haddad and wife of Nabil Costa
The year was 1996. After a shift in mission focus from organizations abroad, it seemed certain that some Baptist ministries would have to close their doors. The land and the offices where LSESD now stands, where countless hours and relationships were built, might all disappear too.
Well, not if my father, Reverend Boulos Haddad, had anything to say about it.
He was one of the few Lebanese Baptist leaders who called for a meeting to discuss the opportunity to hand over of the ministries to a local Baptist body. As a minority religious group in Lebanon, these properties were essential to training and caring for the community. Without a place for us to meet or a school like Beirut Baptist School, I wonder how different Lebanon would be today?
On January 21, 1997, a founding committee for establishing a Baptist Society was formed composed of 7 members, and I proudly remember that my father was one of them. He then participated in drafting the charter of LSESD with its original constitution and by-laws.
Members of the LSESD board remembered, “He never missed any board meeting except for very compelling reasons. Brother Boulos, as he liked us to call him, was always an institutional man, very serious, and very wise.”
On October 13, 2020, my dad went to be with the Lord in a very difficult situation. COVID-19 didn’t allow us to bid him goodbye, neither as his close family and his bigger family – the church. This was heartbreaking for us. For this reason we worked on a documentary video about his life during his 60 years of ministry, which you can watch here on YouTube. This goodbye project gave us a bit of relief.
On October 9, 2022, Dar Manhal al Hayat, the publishing house connected to LSESD, published a book containing 60 of his sermons. The book’s name is Yatakallam Baad يتكلم بعد , which means even ‘if he is not there, he still speaks’ (Hebrews 11:4). During this launching event, many pastors shared their hearts. I would love to share with you some of their quotes to show how he invested in the next generation and trained other pastors.
Pastor Mike Feghali – “I have observed in Pastor Boulos the true image of Christ as the Good Shepherd. He taught me to love the Lord and trust His promises, to help the weak and support those who are seeking advancement in their ministry, and to stand firm – I am grounded in the word of God. I learned from Pastor Boulos to refrain from divulging any secrets of those who entrusted me with their confidential matters.”
Pastor Joseph Kazzi – “Pastor Boulos told me that there are two types of servants. First, there are those who treat ministry as a toy. They will play with it, soon be bored, and quit playing. The other type is those who treat ministry as a cause and stay with it till the end. He advised me to set my face steadfastly on the cause and never waver, just like my master Jesus Christ.”
Pastor Jihad Haddad – “Pastor Boulos did not write any books. Instead, he was a living book titled “A man of God”. As I browse the pages of this book I come across the following chapters:
Chapter 1 – Seriousness. It is the basis of for serving the Lord.
Chapter 2 – Prayers. Prayer should precede, accompany and follow any successful ministry.
Chapter 3 – Preaching. Around 30 years ago when I [Pastor Jihad] started my ministry, I asked Pastor Boulos about the possibility of preaching becoming easier with time. His answer was ‘unfortunately, I cannot give you this assurance. When you find that preparing sermons has become easy, know that you are no longer a successful preacher.’ Every time I prepare for my sermon I realize how this holds true.
Chapter 4 – Wisdom. Whenever I come back from ministry with a bunch of exhilarating experiences, victories, and sense of pride, Pastor Boulos would smile and encourage me. At the same time he would tone down the level of pride in me. He was protecting me from my worst enemy, myself. What was said of Abraham can also be said of Pastor Boulos, ‘You are a mighty prince among us,” remembered Pastor Jihad Haddad.
This launching event also gave me the blessing of turning over his memories again. It’s been another healing process for me and my family to see the photos again and recall his legacy. The three siblings, my brother, sister, and I, feel that we’re so privileged to have such a godly man who we can name our dad. We witness what Timothy wrote: A man of God is someone who pursues righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. He fights the good fight of faith and lays hold of eternal life, to which he was called and confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (I Timothy 6:11-14)
We saw his commitment to the church daily, but even more so, we saw his commitment to the Word of God. Some saw him as conservative or tough, but truly it was because he didn’t compromise on the truth. He believed that the Bible was written for all generations.
Why should we be surprised that now we’re in the 21st century? No, the Bible is written for all periods, and we should not change Scripture to fit our times.
One thing which I would never forget about my childhood is that my parents were never present at home, instead they were constantly on the go and working for the church.
My dad’s motto in life was: “God’s first, then the ministry, then family and everybody else.”
Maybe it used to bother me as a child, but when I think of it today, I feel proud and blessed. I never regret those days, and if we could go back, I’d want to have the same thing again.
I consider my father’s lifestyle as an example for me and others to pattern their lives after. Just as the Apostle Paul admonished his followers to “imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1), I believe I can hear my father calling out to us to view his ministry as a model. For me, to honor my parents in a biblical way means that I will be an imitator of his gracious and godly lifestyle.
This is how my father lived and served his master. He led a tireless life of ministry where the work in God’s kingdom occupied first place. He waged a relentless fight against the hindrances to a spiritual and fruitful life, while inspiring many to dedicate their lives to the ministry. Although he avoided popularity, my father is one of the most impactful ministers of his era. Without a doubt, he showed us that the Word of God is a treasure that we need to pass on.
Preparing and Equipping Future Pastors
Lebanon is facing a potential crisis of ministry leaders in the coming years, as the economic crisis pushes young Christians to emigrate. Dar Manhal al Hayat values faithful preaching and aims to provide such examples and theological resources to equip the Arabic speaking Church.rces.