Training leaders and transforming lives in Iran.
For the casual observer, it would be difficult to argue with the claim that Iran is hostile to the Christian faith. Since the revolution in 1979, a hard–line Islamic regime has been in place. Life for Christians changed radically, with opposition and persecution becoming commonplace in the decades following the upheaval. Missionaries were kicked out, evangelism outlawed, Bibles in the Persian language banned and many church leaders and pastors were imprisoned or even martyred for their faith.
The prognosis for the Christian faith appeared bleak. With such fierce opposition, and already in the minority, what would happen to Christ’s church in this place? Violence abounded in the early years, but in the 1990’s, as the fervour faded and disillusionment with the new regime began to set in, hearts began to turn back towards the (now underground) church for spiritual satisfaction.
Iran’s house churches began to grow, even as their leaders continued to be killed. Today, research by Operation World makes clear that Iran is home to the fastest growing church in the world. Some estimate that over one million people have come to know Christ. God is clearly moving among Iranians, opening eyes to the false hope of Islam and to the eternal life found in Christ.
Our desire is to seize the opportunities created by God’s work in the hearts of the people. For several years, we have supported the production and distribution of SD cards full of Scripture and evangelistic materials. Each year, hundreds of Iranians encounter outreach teams giving these cards out, with many delighted by the gift having long desired to explore the claims of Christianity. Praise God for those coming to faith through this ministry!
However, as the church in Iran continues to grow at pace, there is an urgent need for a new generation of theologically trained and godly leaders. We are privileged to support a college remotely training Iranian students for ministry, ensuring the ongoing preparation of new shepherds for the growing flock.
Praise God for what He has done in Iran! Where the outlook was once bleak, today it is home to the fastest growing church in the world. Hallelujah!