HEARTS RIPE FOR HARVEST: THE JOY OF SINGING OUT LOUD
Fast Growing Church – Tiny Congregations
Earlier this month we shared exciting news. Iran has the fastest growing Christian church in the world. We also pointed out some of the difficulties related to attending church in a country where Christianity is strictly outlawed.
Iranian Christians meet in small groups for the sake of security. The secret police is working desperately to infiltrate the churches to shut them down. Any new member to the group must already be well-known and well-trusted by the other members and usually membership is restricted to family members or close friends. The more these small groups grow, the more danger there is to the group members. After the group grows to include 10 people, they usually break into smaller groups.
Two Years on Probation
American Evangelical churches are eager to seal your membership/conversion with baptism. We also have a tendency to focus on differences rather than commonalities. We debate sprinkling vs. dunking. Congregations split up over over worship music: contemporary vs. traditional. Building committees argue seating options: theater seats or pews with cushions. Members become critics of their pastor’s delivery, degrees and humor.
By comparison, a small home church in Iran has many challenges, but not of the type mentioned in the paragraph above. Things are very different there and in other countries where Christians are forced to meet in secret. When lives and livelihood are in danger, issues of style rarely matter. For Iranian church members, one of their most sacred duties is to protect fellow believers from a mistake in membership. Even after you have been accepted into a small church group, you must wait for about two years to be baptised in Iran.
A Joyous Occasion
When the two-year wait is over, the worthy candidates are kidnapped by church leaders. The logistics of the snatch are a secret, but the new believers are taken to a remote location. There they don their native dress and for the first time in their lives they are able to sing out loud and worship with a large group of Christians.
Members of the GHM staff were able to see a video of one of these worship events and the joy was so immense that it radiated into the room in which we were sitting. The participants were jumping up in down in their colorful costumes, holding hands with their brothers and sisters in Christ, as they sang praise songs at the top of their voices. The sight of their unbounded joy renders the staid western church services most of us are used to attending absolutely stale. If this is the face of persecution, it is wearing a smile.
Help Reap the Harvest
You can partner with Global Heart Ministries to fulfill The Great Commission in this generation. Together we can bring the light and the truth of Jesus Christ right into the living rooms of every deceived child, every oppressed woman and every hurting home. This is our message. This is our call.
We invite you to join this vision as a volunteer, a prayer warrior, or a financial donor. Contact us today by phone or email. Let us know how you’d like to partner with us as we reach out to the Most Unreached regions of the world.