CHURCH4KIDS – A NEW INITIATIVE FOR PERSIAN CHILDREN
SAT-7 PARS has launched Church4Kids, a new discipleship project for Persian-speaking children. Through live Instagram streams, worship and teaching material, and one-to-one encouragement, Church4Kids creates a safe space for children in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan to learn more about God.
“Our children’s programs Golden Advice: Jungle of Golpand and Hashtag have been doing a fantastic job of introducing young viewers to God’s love and His Word,” shares Panayiotis Keenan, Executive Director of SAT-7 PARS. “And now we are seeing the fruits of our labour, with increasing numbers of young viewers contacting us, wanting to know more and more. Church4Kids will take them on the next step in their journey of faith.”
Church4Kids offers a weekly Instagram live stream from presenter Maryam, who is well-loved by viewers of Golpand, along with worship videos and teaching sent to the children through secure group messaging apps. The aim, explains Maryam, is to help children grow through fellowship as well as teaching.
“Persian-speaking children in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan who have made the decision to give their hearts to Christ often don’t have friends with whom they can share their faith,” says Maryam. “In the absence of such friendships, a number of our regular viewers reached out to me and to the SAT-7 PARS’ Audience Relations teams, and we could see their need for deeper fellowship.”
Church4Kids began to develop organically in response to this need in the summer of 2021, and it is now enabling children to have fellowship with one another, participate in deeper discussions, and build lasting friendships.
The response so far has been very encouraging. Shahnam*, a young boy, recently shared this message with the team:
“Hello sister Maryam, I hope you are well. I attended your [Instagram] live stream and I think these are excellent and impactful. I am happy that you are there and that we can speak and are in contact. The Bible has everything we need, and I am grateful to you for helping us get to know God.”
Placing Hope in God
Discipleship is vitally important for children and young people in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan, as they face a range of challenges that inhibit them from fulfilling their full potential and often leave them bereft of hope. UNICEF has identified Afghanistan as the “worst place to be born in the world,” as Afghan children are subjected to extreme poverty and violence on a daily basis. Their situation is in fact critical: high child mortality, malnutrition, forced marriage, and sexual abuse are among the issues that threaten children. In Iran and Tajikistan, inadequate education, poor healthcare, economic hardship, and political oppression also restrict children’s opportunities.
In addition to the discipleship that helps children trust and hope in their loving God through the challenges they face, SAT-7 PARS programs and audience relations activities promote young viewers’ wellbeing and inclusion, guide them to help build strong families and friendships, and help them to become agents of positive change. In turn, their heart-warming prayers and confidence leaves the team feeling the future of the region is in good hands.
“I wanted to share that the great God rules over all things in the world,” says Kia, a young female participant in Church4Kids. “The tomorrow that is ahead of us and is unknown to us, the almighty God knows what is going to happen.
“If something bad happens, God will take care of us. So never fear anything and remember that the great God is always with you. He will guide you towards the way that is good and right.”