World's Fastest Growing Church Is In Iran
The church in Iran is the fastest growing church in the world, according to an article featured in the Voice of the Martyrs newsletter. However, due to persecution and death threats, that church has been forced underground.
While there are few reliable statistics regarding church growth in Iran, many charities have also confirmed its exponential rise.
“The majority of the wider Christian community are Christian Armenians with a smaller number of Assyrians and Chaldeans. They are cultural and linguistic islands isolated in a Muslim sea,” according to Operation World, an organization that releases a global prayer guide on the worldwide Christian community. “While they live in relative peace, their fear of persecution and of job and educational discrimination, as well as their desire to offer their families a more stable and promising future, drive many to emigrate, denuding Iran of the richness of communities that predate Islam by centuries.”
Just over .5% of Iranians identify as Christians, while over 98% identify as Muslims, according to Operation World. The number of Christians may actually be higher, as some are afraid to “officially” identify as Christians due to a fear of being killed or imprisoned.
Christians are persecuted deeply in Iran. Open Doors USA, a charity that monitors Christian persecution worldwide, lists the level of persecution in Iran as extreme.
“Christianity is also considered a condemnable Western influence, an imminent threat to the Islamic identity of the Republic–especially as their numbers are growing and, allegedly, even children of political and spiritual leaders are leaving Islam for Christianity,” according to Open Doors USA. The non-profit foundation lists Iran as number 9 out of 50 for the top countries that persecute Christians in the world.
There is one possibility for this. “Governments became more fearful of Islamic extremism and responded by either (a) boosting nationalism as a counter-force or (b) tightening regulations and increasing surveillance over all religious expression,” according to a statement from Open Doors USA.
Iran Alive Ministries released a video describing the dire situation in Iran. “While the number of believers continues to grow, the number of churches does not. 99% of Christians in Iran still don’t have access to church of any kind. These new believers aren’t able to experience the fellowship, discipleship, training or encouragement that every Christian needs,” they said.
While it is too dangerous for many missionaries to travel to Iran, God is still at work is this vastly unreached area. They have an innovative tech solution to bring church services to those who may not otherwise be able to visit a physical church building. The ministry, which is affiliated with the Voice of the Martyrs is active on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
“Global Church for Iran is a virtual community of believers who interact through satellite TV and digital media,” according to the ministry’s website. “The government may be able to stop physical churches from being built but they cannot stop our satellite feed from reaching millions of Iranian believers every day.”
This broadcast sends a constant stream of data over Iran. They see it as their calling to reach out to the Muslim world through television programs and original content on social media platforms.
“24 hours a day, 7 days a week, Muslim-born believers gain access to church from the safety of their own homes,” according to Iran Alive Ministries. “This is a key step in fulfilling our vision to see the Lord transform Iran into a Christian nation in this generation.”