Iran’s house-church movement

Mahnaz nervously rings the apartment buzzer. As she’s quickly ushered in, she sees a few well-worn Bibles and smiles on six familiar faces: she’s in the right place. This small Christian fellowship of new believers meets in a different home each week as part of their efforts to avoid detection.

They begin the meeting by singing worship songs, but quietly so as not to alert the neighbors.  After worship, they share testimonies, and then listen to a sermon online. The teaching, from Matthew 10, is hard hitting: Jesus told his followers to expect to suffer for His name. Indeed, the preacher was himself forced into exile because of persecution. Mahnaz listens carefully. She already knows the risks and has decided Jesus is worth it. And she is proud to be part of Iran’s rapidly growing house church movement.

Irani ladies in Gorgan near Caspian Sea | Photo by Ninara at Flickr.com, Creative Commons

Iran’s house churches first emerged in the late 1990s. After decades of restrictions on church gatherings following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, church leaders realised the only way to continue sharing the Gospel with Muslim-background Iranians was to operate in secret.

What began as a trickle has become a flood. Now, secret fellowships are forming weekly, as the Gospel spreads. It is not uncommon to hear of whole families coming to faith together.

Iran’s government responds harshly when a house church is discovered. Nevertheless, there are many like Mahnaz who are hungry to gather with other believers to learn more about their precious Saviour. And as non-Christians see believers willingly suffering for their faith, the curiosity about Jesus only spreads wider. 

How to Pray

  1. Bless new believers like Mahnaz as they grow in their faith, and for protection for their churches.
  2. Pray for peace, prosperity and stability in Iran and for freedom for all Iranians to worship as they want.
  3. Pray for the authorities in Iran to be just towards Christians and for Christians to be salt and light. (Matthew 5:13-16)

2 Comments

  1. Lord, what a marveilous work you done i your salvation, we pray for our little sisters and house churches.. Lord spread the house churches all over Iran…we pray in the name of our Lord Jesus , Amen.

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