ALPHARETTA, GA – It takes only one visit to Elam Ministries’ website to see the evidence that God is writing a beautiful story for Iran.
What is that story, and how can it be possible? Isn’t Iran ruled by the Muslin ayatollahs? Haven’t Iranian officials called the U.S. and Israel “Big Satan” and “Little Satan?” Have they not promised to destroy us? Are they not building a nuclear weapons arsenal?
All of those things are undeniably true, but that does not prevent Jesus Christ from writing a beautiful story in a place where we might think it is impossible to do so. Just as Gabriel had to remind Mary that “with God nothing is impossible,” we sometimes need to be reminded as well. And that is what He is apparently doing yet again.
Numerous evangelical sources have claimed that the Christian population in Iran is growing at an unprecedented rate. Have skeptics disagreed? Don’t they always? But, according to a recent article in Christianity Today, some secular researchers have begun to agree.
A research group based in the Netherlands has concluded that there are at least 750,000 Christians in Iran and that that number is growing.
“The number of Christians in Iran is “without a doubt in the order of magnitude of several hundreds of thousands and growing beyond a million.”
Thirty Years Ago
There can be no doubt that the Lord is using Elam Ministries as one of the brushes with which He is painting His beautiful story in Iran.
At the point of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, there were fewer than 500 native Christians in Iran.
A group of six Christian leaders in Iran founded Elam Ministries in 1990 with a burden to feed the spiritual hunger in their home country. They traveled to England to train for full-time ministry with a vision that all Iranians would have the opportunity to know and follow the Lord, Jesus Christ.
Elam has prioritized training and equipping Christian leaders since its inception. This strategy has proven to be wise. The more people who choose to follow Christ, the more they need leaders already prepared to disciple them.
Keep in mind that, despite robust growth, the church in Iran must still meet clandestinely to avoid persecution. Church leaders must possess much wisdom in leading their flocks. Remember also that Jesus can save even the worst persecutors of Christians, like Saul of Tarsus, and transform them into beacons that shine in the darkest of nights.
Elam Ministries could not have existed without its original six leaders. Its outreach could not have grown so magnificently without more trained leaders. One of their greatest needs for the continued spread of the Gospel in Iran is to train even more leaders.
Equipping Women and Teaching Men
One of the main focuses of Elam’s ministries is reaching out to women. Missions Box readers don’t need to be reminded of the status of women in emerging nations. They are nearly always treated as being less valuable than men – sometimes much less.
What makes Elam stand apart from similar ministries in other regions is that they realize that unless the men understand the value of women in God’s eyes, the women will continue to endure devaluation, abuse, and domestic violence. It does little good for women to understand their value compared to teaching men how the Bible teaches them to love and honor women. Along with its evangelistic efforts, Elam conducts men’s conferences that are all about the value of women. At their first conference in 2013,
“The confessions from the past were astonishing, as men repented from [their] harsh treatment of women and committed to becoming advocates for women . . . having a profound impact on the lives of women and girls.”
The Touch of the Master’s Hand
Learn more about Elam Ministries by visiting their website.
Elam’s 46-page “Iran 30” document is also freely available to download as a learning resource and as a 30-day prayer guide to gain a clearer picture of the beautiful story God is writing in Iran through Elam Ministries and others.
- Elam Ministries, Official Website
- Elam Ministries, ECFA
- Christianity Today, Researchers Find Christians in Iran Approaching 1 Million