Bringing Worship to the Egyptian Street

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Bringing Worship to the Egyptian Street

We Will Sing, airing weekly on SAT-7, is the first Christian music program to be broadcast live in Arabic from Cairo, reports Jeremy Reynalds, Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service.

According to a story by SAT-7, singer and presenter Maher Fayez, from a middle class background, has a vision for reaching people on the street.

Fayez came to the Lord from the street, and thus has a burden to minister to the street. According to SAT-7, the unique musical style of Fayez’s worship touches the hearts of those who might otherwise never enter a church.

SAT-7 said a series of events were critical in leading Fayez to the Lord, and then into ministry. He experienced a defining moment in his childhood at the age of nine. Having loved music from when he was young, Coptic melodies attracted Fayez to church. He interacted with the music to create new renditions, much to the chagrin of his choir class teacher. The teacher believed the new renditions were a distortion of sacred hymns and kicked Fayez out of the class.

Expulsion from choir made a young Fayez bitter, and he vowed never to attend church again. Thereafter, SAT-7 said, Fayez would lead a double life, distinguished by professional brilliance, and rebellion.

At 16, Fayez had already been working for six years and was making money as a wedding singer. Frustrated with his parents, SAT-7 said, Fayez ran away from home. His father persuaded him to return, on the condition that no one would tell Fayez what to do. All the while, Fayez was aware that his father continued to pray for him.

An ambitious Fayez pursued his dreams by studying at the High Institute of Music in Egypt. The studies paid off.

SAT-7 said by the time he turned 24, Fayez had composed 21 songs for famous secular singers—an impressive feat for a young professional! As a singer in a band, he made a lot of money, but he was spending it on drinking, drugs, and gambling.

Eventually, his career started to wane. Fayez’s connections in the media field dried up, and he questioned himself. Was he successful? Was he happy? These questions led to many sleepless nights.

One night in particular, SAT-7 said, Fayez was crying and wandering the streets when he decided to visit his father. He instinctively knew that the way he felt that night was an answer to his father’s years of prayer. They prayed together, and Fayez committed his life to Christ.

SAT-7 said today, Fayez is a Christian celebrity and praise leader in Egypt. Yet his former rebellious spirit and struggle with a pleasure-seeking lifestyle are experiences to which millions of viewers can relate.

As a praise leader, Fayez chooses to use a Sufi style of music. This is a Middle Eastern style of music used especially in religious worship.

SAT-7 said Fayez commented that once his team started to play this type of music, “We made friends with the street people.” The popularity of this music did not escape even the famous Islamic Sufi singer, Ali Alhelbawy, who attended one of Fayez’s early events.

After the concert, Alhelbawy proposed that they do a series of concerts together. In 2009, Alhelbawy performed at the Cairo Opera House with Fayez and his team, Karouz. It was the first time the Cairo Opera House hosted an interfaith gathering that featured such Christian music.

SAT-7 said this concert was a highlight in Fayez’s career because over half of the attendees were not from a Christian background. Many thanked him afterwards for sharing “understandable” lyrics about the Christian faith.

SAT-7 said at the Church of God in the Cairo neighborhood of Shoubra, Fayez leads hundreds of people in weekly praise and worship. Some of the attendees are not Christians, and many cannot help but cry throughout the service. They tell Fayez, “Something different happens when we come…there is a different spirit in this place.”

SAT-7, for Fayez, is close to everyone and everything, in terms of Christian coverage of community affairs and current events. Fayez said, “It’s a good place to contain our [the Karouz team’s] vision.”

In addition to his weekly show, We Will Sing, Maher Fayez has led worship at a number of special events broadcast by SAT-7.

Recently, he led praise and worship at Count It Right, a four-day mega conference in the Egyptian desert that attracted over 10,000 attendees each day. His popularity is drawing a wide audience of viewers to SAT-7, and to a better understanding of God’s true character.

SAT-7 is Christian satellite television broadcasting the hope of Jesus Christ to millions throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

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