House churches will keep on growing in Iran because of this simple and Biblical principle. An Iranian has a powerful encounter with Jesus Christ – through a dream, a TV programme, a New Testament, a book, a desperate prayer miraculously answered – and their lives completely change. Instead of being depressed, they smile; instead of walking in fear, they trust; instead of cursing, they speak with love.
No government legislation can stop friends and families from noticing and wondering what happened to the person they once knew. For instance, take Golnar. When she came to Christ, the family asked, who turned grumpy Golnar into grinning Golnar? Now 30 members of her family are believers. Ebrahim is another example. Addicted to drugs for years, his was a dramatic salvation. A friend saw him afterwards and nearly fell over in disbelief at the change. He too became a Christian just two months ago and has witnessed to over 10 others in his family.
And so the Gospel cannot be stopped. As it was when Andrew told Peter, so it is today in Iran: the growing house churches are about families and close friends.
This of course brings its challenges. Extended family tensions and personality conflicts when left to fester can sap the new fellowship of spiritual vibrancy. Wise, mature leadership and counsel is needed to help bring resolution and peace in this hour.
• Extended families that form many new fellowships
• Wisdom for present leaders
• Resources and training to help leaders