Outreach Ministries Partner — Leawood Campus
Keyvan was an orphan in Iran and always wondered, “Who is my family?” At age 18 he began searching. He grew desperate and decided to pray to Jesus, “Who is my family?” Soon after, he found his family. This experience led Keyvan to give his life to Jesus.
There are literally thousands and thousands of people like Keyvan all across Iran. They have had some sort of experience that has led them to become a Christian. But this is not the end of their story. It is just the beginning.
In time Keyvan got connected with Elam Ministries and was invited to a conference. There he said, “I have believed in Jesus for two years now, but I keep sleeping around. I don’t feel this is right, and I am miserable.”
The leader looked at him with love and said, “Keyvan, Jesus loves you, and He is calling you to deeper repentance. You must give up your former life.” That evening Keyvan came forward for prayer and repentance. Later that night he was baptized.
This is discipleship. While it is wonderful that people are finding eternal salvation in Christ, without discipleship, people are left in their mess and misery.
There are now hundreds of thousands of Iranian believers all across Iran. Many more are in neighboring countries. This new season has many joys but it also comes with many challenges.
Elam Ministries is working in this region, and is an outreach partner with Christ Community’s Leawood Campus. Elam is at a critical juncture. Millions could be added to the Persian-speaking church. However, discipleship must keep pace with evangelism.
For this to happen, the whole church must be mobilized to be disciple-makers. Elam has given much prayer and thought to how they can enable ordinary believers to do effective one-on-one discipleship. Here is what is being done…
In January 2108, Elam launched a new one-on-one discipleship initiative called Safar (Persian for “journey”) to mobilize the Persian-speaking church on a larger scale than ever before.
The trained leaders serving on the ground are calling Safar a game-changer. Drawing on decades of experience in discipling Iranians, Safar pairs a new believer one-on-one with a hamsafar (co-journeyer) for the first 100 days of the new believer’s life. There are around 30 steps in the journey, one for every three to four days. The process is deeply biblical, relational, and practical.
Already, many have been mobilized as hamsafars, and this discipleship method is being used in Iran and other countries in that region, as well as among Persian-speaking refugees in Europe. Deep discipleship is taking place, and new believers are growing in their faith.
The impact has already been profound. “After just four steps in Safar, Reza opened up more than in the previous six months of discipling him,” remarked one hamsafar.
Now believers are reading their Bibles regularly. One pastor said, “It is encouraging to see so many engaging with the Scriptures.” People are grasping their identity in Christ, learning to forgive others, and overcoming fears.
Evangelism is increasing and Elam is regularly hearing testimonies of people coming to faith as those being discipled grow in courage and ability to witness to family and friends.
Will you pray for this growing church in the Persian-speaking region? Please pray that those who are new believers will be assigned a discipler to walk them through the 100-day journey to know the Lord Jesus Christ and follow Him as a disciple.