Iran is said to have the fastest-growing Christian church in the world, even though it is primarily underground, and even though Iran is a constitutional Islamic theocracy that largely shuns Christianity.
A new documentary depicts the mass exodus from Islam to Christianity that’s beginning to unfold in the highly persecuted Middle Eastern Country.
“Sheep Among Wolves,” is a two-hour documentary created by Frontier Alliance International (FAI) Studios that details the revival that is taking place in Iran.
“The fastest-growing church in the world has taken root in one of the most unexpected and radicalized nations on earth,” according to the documentary. “The Iranian awakening is a rapidly reproducing discipleship movement that owns no property or buildings, has no central leadership, and is predominantly led by women.”
The documentary tells the story of the Iranian Muslims who are leading “a quiet but mass exodus out of Islam and bowing their knees to the Jewish Messiah—with kindled affection toward the Jewish people.”
The movement doesn’t have a church building or even a property to meet at, nor do they have funds, and they are primarily led by women. It’s a new kind of movement and one that is shaking Iran to its core, according to the documentary.
“What if I told you Islam is dead?” one Iranian church leader says on the film, identity undisclosed. “What if I told you the mosques are empty inside Iran? What if I told you no one follows Islam inside of Iran? Would you believe me? This is exactly what is happening inside of Iran. God is moving powerfully inside of Iran.”
The pastor adds: “What if I told you the best evangelist for Jesus was the Ayatollah Khomeini? The ayatollahs brought the true face of Islam to light and people discovered it was a lie…After 40 years under Islamic law — a utopia according to them — they’ve had the worst devastation in the 5,000-year history of Iran.”
“What persecution did was destroy the church that were not disciples, and destroy the church that were about converts,” the church leader added. “All these church planters found out that converts run away from persecution, but disciples would die for the Lord in persecution.”
The director of the film Dalton Thomas calls the movement “the Iranian awakening.”
It owns no property, no buildings, no central leadership, and is predominantly led by women,” he said in a recent press release.
Thomas explained that the film was named “Sheep Among Wolves” because of the Bible verse Matthew 10:16, which reads, “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”
“Muslim-background Iranians are leading a quiet but mass exodus out of Islam and bowing their knees to the Jewish Messiah — with kindled affection toward the Jewish people,” the documentary says.
The “Iranian awakening” does not come without risk, as the Christian religion is still highly persecuted in Iran.
“We know that if they get us, the first thing they will do to us as a woman is rape us and then they will beat us and ultimately they will kill us,” one believer said in the film. “This is the decision we have made that we want to offer our bodies as sacrifices. Because I have this thought when I wake up, that when I leave, that door I might not come back.”
According to one Iranian leader, more than half of the “disciple-makers” are women.
Discipling to convert
In the film, one of the church planters explains that they don’t “convert to disciple, we disciple so we can convert,” because of the nature of the persecution in Iran.
“Disciples forsake the world and cling to Jesus ’till he comes. Converts don’t,” the church leader explained. “Disciples aren’t engaged in a culture war. Converts are. Disciples cherish, obey, and share the word of God. Converts don’t. Disciples choose Jesus over anything and everything else. Converts don’t. Converts run when the fire comes. Disciples don’t.”
He further explained that one of the most emphasized parts to their planting is prayer and that they value discipleship over conversion.
“We find people of peace through prayer. We even find locations through prayer,” he said. “[Jesus] has come in their dreams or he’s come miraculously in their lives. When we hear this, we know that Jesus has gone ahead of us.”
“They are not just reading the Bible for information. They are reading the Bible to get transformed.”