Despotic. Repressive. This is how the situation in Iran is often perceived. For those not born into a Christian family, being a believer can be challenging. Yet, the underground and often persecuted Church is thriving — with help from SAT-7.

Ethnic Assyrian and Armenian Christians can freely worship but cannot hold services in Farsi, the language spoken by most Iranians. Networks of underground churches are the only places where other Iranians can meet with Christian believers. Even so, this house-church movement is experiencing astonishing growth, with 100,000 to 370,000 members at conservative estimates.

“Anti-state activities”

Many Iranians long to know more about Christ but are discouraged by hard-line clerics and the constant surveillance of religious police.

Attending an underground church can come at a high cost. Some 90 or so new believers are currently in jail, most sentenced on charges such as “anti-state activities and propaganda”.

It is not surprising, therefore, that an estimated 10–15,000 Iranian believers flee the country every year. Others worship in underground churches or as isolated followers of Christ.

SAT-7 PARS Programing Manager, Nikoo Ordadary explains: “Being a Christian inside Iran can be very lonely as you often cannot speak of your faith to another for fear of domestic, social and in many cases, political persecution. Many new believers continue to grow in their faith through SAT-7 PARS which is their only uncensored source of Christian information today. The new believers in Christ, those thirsty men and women who risk their livelihoods and freedom to defy the theocracy, and find a way to know Jesus more and reflect Him in their actions of perseverance and kindness, are our daily encouragers and the subject of our prayers. Today, more than ever, the fast-growing number of believers inside Iran need trained Bible teachers and leaders. Our prayer is that those who have been called to lead the churches inside Iran come to watch our programs and gain the knowledge and encouragement that they need.”

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