(Iran flag, Pixabay)

Iran (MNN) — The regime in Tehran continues its brutal oppression of the Iranian people.

Speaking to university students last week, President Ebrahim Raisi said Iran would unblock social media platforms if the parent companies set up shop in Tehran. Iran’s communications minister now says he wants to keep the restrictions on foreign social media in place.

Iranian lawmakers tightened the country’s internet censorship legislation last year amid widespread civil unrest.

“Right now, the authorities are extremely controlling any kind of communication in or out of Iran,” Transform Iran’s Lana Silk says.

“It’s harder for people to connect with us on social media or using any kind of internet-based means, even phone calls.”

But difficult is not impossible. Most Iranians use VPNs or other workarounds to bypass government restrictions. This opens the door for digital evangelism and discipleship.

“On a Sunday, we have a fully interactive Zoom meeting where hundreds of devices will join. It doesn’t replace church; we’re not saying, ‘Nobody should gather together in person; let’s just do it all on Zoom.’ It is an essential tool for this climate, and it’s a great partner tool for physical churches,” Silk says.

“Iranians are coming to the Lord in the thousands. We need to find creative ways [to] speak to them, nurture them, ensure they’re growing with biblical theology so that heresy doesn’t creep into the Church.”

Transform Iran began its digital church community in 2018. Learn more here.

(Graphic courtesy of Transform Iran)

“The digital church started years before COVID as a response to a need. We began collecting isolated Christians together using Zoom and building community with them,” Silk says.

“They needed nurturing, encouragement, and strengthening; some [were] in isolated locations in Iran, unable to connect with others.”

Pray for wisdom as Transform Iran grows its digital church ministry. Pray for opportunities and resources to develop digital church communities in Iran’s minority language groups.

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“The people of Iran – now more than ever – need the global Christian community to be their voice and intercede on their behalf,” Silk says.


Header image is a representative stock photo courtesy of Pixabay.