Relaymedia

Iranian Christian Television Continuing to Reach Thousands of Muslims

( [email protected] ) Jun 18, 2004 05:30 AM EDT

A ministry whose California-based church plant was named as “America’s Church of the Week” in February has reported over 50,000 Iranian Muslims having turned to Christ since its satellite TV broadcast first aired two years ago. International Antioch Ministries (IAM), which offers ten hours of programming each week throughout the Islamic Republic of Iran, has received hundreds of calls, e-mails, and faxes from Iranians living within Iran and worldwide, and three times as many in the past six months.

Seen in “prime time” throughout the Islamic Republic of Iran, IAM’s Iranian Christian TV (ICTV) offers programs featuring a live, call-in pastoral show; uplifting worship and praise; and discipleship instruction. It is the “home church” for many within closed Muslim countries who avoid the risks of worshipping openly as well as the globally dispersed Iranian community.

“As former Muslims from the Middle East, we are able to reach out to millions of Muslims and bring them to the light of Christ,” said IAM’s founder, Pastor Hormoz Shariat. “In just two years, we estimate over 50,000 Iranian Muslims have accepted Christianity through IAM’s satellite TV ministry. Many of these new Christians are facing imprisonment, persecution, loss of employment and martyrdom. With the generous support of ministries such as Voice of the Martyrs and Sammy Tippit Ministries, as well as individual donations, IAM is able to maintain and expand our vital work.”

IAM recently welcomed its first ministry partner, the Sammy Tippit Ministries, which is now sharing the Gospel through IAM’s ICTV. Pastor Sammy Tippit, who leads the ministry formerly known as God’s Love in Action, presents his preaching and programs over IAM’s ICTV one hour each week, translated into the Iranian language, Farsi.

“We would be delighted to help other churches and ministries reach Muslims in the 10/40 window by advising them as well as assisting with media production and literature translation,” said Shariat. “We would also like to thank our donors and supporters, without whom this great work could not continue.”

IAM, headquartered in San Jose, California, is also involved in planting churches, training Iranian-speaking Christian leaders for ministry, developing Iranian language evangelistic and discipleship materials and providing humanitarian support to Iranians worldwide. Its California-based church plant, The Iranian Christian Church, has the largest affiliated Iranian Christian membership outside of Tehran, Iran. In February of 2004, the Christian Broadcasting Network’s The 700 Club featured the church as “America’s Church of the Week”.

“The work to evangelize in Iran first began in 1830, by American missionaries. By 1979, nearly 150 years later, only 3,000 evangelical Christians lived in an Iranian population of 50 million,” explained Shariat. Today, with an estimated population of 69 million, Muslims still account for the majority of the population at 98%, however Christians now account for close to 1%.

IAM’s five-year objectives include winning 10% of the Iranian population to Christ, planting an additional 20 churches among Muslims in North America, having a 24-hour Christian satellite broadcast service to the Middle East, printing Bibles and Christian literature for Muslims, and holding evangelistic crusades in Tehran’s One Hundred Thousand Stadium.

Currently, the ministry’s California-based churches are located in San Jose, Fremont, Sacramento, Fresno, and Los Angeles.

Farsi speakers can learn more about IAM’s ICTV, including broadcast times and stations at www.ic-tv.com, while English speakers can learn more about IAM and its broadcast ministry at its website, www.iam-online.net.