Selah Worship Arts Ministry was founded by Arben (Beni) and Irma Xhako.
Born and raised in the strict communist era, they saw Albania opened to democracy in 1991 and the first missionaries able to enter and preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. Initially they worked planting churches, but in 2011 they felt a call to help their nation find their worshipping voice and raise up generations of worship for the future.
They have given their lives to this vision through the ministry of Selah and have lived by faith for over ten years.
Beni and Irma are joined in ministry by the staff team of Ted Bukowski and Whitney Peck, their children Samuel and Sibora, and other volunteers and partners from Albania and beyond. Our international partners include Engage Worship, Music In the World Cultures MIWC, and Christchurch Baptist Welwyn Garden City, UK.
Selah Worship Arts Ministry engages in many activities to train and equip worship teams in Albania and across the Balkan region. These include:
School of Worship - This is a soon to be a six month, full time residential school combining discipleship, musical training and worship leadership. 8 students graduated in 2019, and 7 graduated in 2021. Our vision is to see this school grow, with our own building, dedicated tutors and increasing student numbers. We want to see the “voice” of Albanian songwriters emerge.
Worship Camps - These are usually three days in September, with around 75 participants every year. People gather from all over the country for teaching, worship, encouragement and fellowship. The most common feedback we hear is - “can these be longer?!”
Conferences - We run conferences for worship teams in Albania and across the region. At most 20% of the churches in the region have a worship leader or a worship team and this 20% have little to no theological and sometimes very basic musical training, so the need is great.
Church Training - We regularly travel to churches across the Balkans to lead worship and train teams. This includes Macedonia, Greece, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro.
We have also lead and cooperated in local, national, and international events such as:
- Billy Graham Association campaign
- Uprising Europe in the UK
- Christmas, Easter and Pentecost Celebrations when the entire Church in Albania is gathered
- The Balkan Call
- Using Arts & Media for evangelistic purposes, coming alongside Church planting initiatives and events for the advancement of the Kingdom
Worship Nights - Regular worship evenings open for all believers.
What Is The Need?
Today Selah Worship Arts Ministry is a unique ministry in the Balkan region, the only organisation of its kind raising up worship teams, training worship leaders and resourcing churches for worship. There is a hunger for musical, theological and leadership training, for discipleship and evangelism through music and the arts. We have no shortage of people asking us to come and minister, but we are limited by a lack of consistent funding.
Albania is a developing country with very little money to spend on worship training and education. Selah operates by faith and in most cases our work is offered for free or heavily subsidised.
Since the 15th century Albania has been under constant invasion of other nations, religions and doctrines. Between 1945-1991, we suffered under a very severe communist dictatorship regime (comparable to North Korea today). During this time, all religious buildings were destroyed or used for propaganda purposes and any religious practises could result in imprisonment or martyrdom. Even in today’s democracy, Christians are in the minority. The needs are great, and your partnership can make a huge difference.