November 2, 2018 — by Jen Haddox

Global Engagement: Connecting with the Iranian Christian Movement

Arguably the fastest growing church in the world today is in Iran. On the one hand, it’s surprising that under persecution the church would be growing there. But on the other hand, isn’t the grace of Jesus found most visibly expressed among those who demonstrate Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life by their sacrificial witness? A fast growing-church needs leaders that can support, sustain, and grow this movement.  God has granted Pars Theological Centre the vision and ministry of equipping leaders for this fast-growing gospel movement in Iran. They are training hundreds of house church leaders in bible and theology, in Christian formation, and in service to their communities. This ministry of equipping leaders for ministry in difficult circumstances is inspiring and invites us to partner in support and prayer.

During the months of September and October, 11 ECO churches and 4 ECO presbyteries have hosted our friends from Pars Theological Centre to hear the story of this gospel movement first-hand.  Shadi Fatehi, Director of Programs at Pars, has found a warm welcome and eager hearts to learn about this good news in the Middle East. As she travels from coast to coast speaking with ECO churches and ECO leaders, we see the Spirit of God at work connecting us to this movement of God in Iran.  A personal note from Shadi:

Visiting ECO churches and presbyteries this Fall has been an incredible gift. I am humbled by the warm hospitality that many have shown me, opening their homes and their lives to me with such genuine love and kindness. Much of my time with ECO leaders has involved worshipping and breaking bread together, engaging in deep conversations, laughter, and the sharing of dreams, sorrows and hopes for our respective ministries. Glorious is not too large a word for the koinonia (fellowship) experienced with these new brothers and sisters in Christ.  

My time here also gave me the opportunity to learn more about the amazing work of FLOURISH, the ministry arm of ECO. ECO's rich leadership development resources have so much to teach us on how we go about training leaders in Iran. I am excited to take back what I have learnt and to explore ways of incorporating it into our program at Pars.

We feel tremendously blessed to partner with a gospel-centred movement like ECO. Our prayer is that ECO will continue being shaped, nourished, directed, and empowered by Christ. We can't wait to be with you at the ECO National Gathering in January!

If you haven’t had the pleasure of connecting with Pars directly on this visit, you can look forward to meeting them at our National Gathering.  Merhdad Fatehi, Founder and President of Pars, and Shadi Fatehi, Director of Programs, will be speaking at the Global Engagement Dinner and a break-out session in January in Colorado Springs.  Join us in welcoming them and getting connected to the exciting work of God in and through this growing relationship with Pars Theological Centre.

If you’d like to learn more, you can also get more information from our mission partners at Frontier Fellowship(Dan McNerney) and The Outreach Foundation(Sasan Tavassoli), both of which directly partner with the ministry of Pars.

Jen Haddox

Rev. Jennifer Haddox previously served as the associate director of World Mission Initiative at Pittsburgh Seminary. She is passionate about inviting others into God's global purposes with experience leading short-term mission trips, coordinating and teaching Perspectives classes, and providing mission resources and teaching for congregations. Jen, her husband, Mike, and two sons recently moved to Jerome, ID where Mike pastors an ECO church. Raising two active toddlers, they don’t have free time! But, they all enjoy playing outdoors, camping, and spending time as a family.

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