Iran sits on the brink of both a civil war and a growing youth movement, providing ample opportunities for the Gospel to spread through the underground church.
Iranian leaders are ready to give over 18,000 prisoners the death sentence for protesting the oppressive regime, states Global Catalytic Ministries (GCM), a leader in disciple-making ministry specific to the Middle East. With so many Iranians feeling hopeless under such oppression, the underground church has seen a rapid growth in disciples, including a large number of youth.
The death of Mahsa Amini has sparked a worldwide youth movement, as the Western world has seen the realities of life in Iran through social media and YouTube. Videos of young Iranians knocking turbans off clerics’ heads in rebellion to the oppression of the regime and its form of Islam have spread across the globe. Worldwide youth support for the movement is growing daily. Even famous Tik Tok personalities are joining the conversation. Samuel Abraham Perez (TikTok: samuelabrahamp, Discord: https://discord.com/invite/EXVS3R7YnV) and David Latting (TikTok: davidlatting1, Discord: https://discord.com/invite/MurfVtGUdw) have started discussions about the topic with younger Westerners.
In the past, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has crushed these movements by killing people to intimidate and control civil unrest. However, many people feel angry and betrayed, choosing to stand up for their freedom no matter the cost. Even the Iranian soccer team, who represented their country’s government, refused to sing their national anthem at their World Cup games. As a result, their families have been threatened with imprisonment and torture. Yet, it’s through movements like these that the underground church is able to share the true freedom found in Christ.
“When these recent events began to happen in Iran I…became very upset and lost my peace. Then I read the story of Christ and then I understood who he was and why he came. It became clear to me why God kept me,” states one underground leader. Stories like this are being shared more and more. As Iranians witness the brutality and ill-treatment of their government leaders, they are looking for true peace.
There are 824 underground churches in over 112 cities across Iran. In the last 2 months, Iranian underground church leaders have planted 5 new churches and launched 50 new Bible study groups. The church is not just surviving, it’s thriving in the turmoil. In fact, they are praying for their enemies and forgiving them as they kill and torture so many. They are only able to do this because they are fully reliant on God and the power of the Holy Spirit.
As of November 19, an estimated 58 children and 410 protestors are reported to have been killed. “The Lord is moving in the pain and anger of the Iranian people,” shares Pastor X, an underground church leader. “How are we walking with people hurt by the protests? We are first loving them to Christ. We befriend them, crying with them when they are crying, and then taking them on a journey to heal them of the emotional, physical, or even psychological hurt caused by the protests and violence.”
Please consider supporting the underground church in helping our indigenous core Disciple-Makers to disciple, bring relief, train, and plant churches in Iran. To learn more about the movement happening in the Iranian underground church, watch Sheep Among Wolves Volume II. You can also partner with GCM in expanding their disciple making ministry by visiting https://catalyticministries.com/giving/. Your generosity will help provide food, medical supplies, and secure communication to connect with the global church, and more.