Guest / Limited Access /

The TV studio hums just a few feet from his church office in northern California, but pastor Hormoz Shariat is still a last-minute arrival to his own show. Behind the scenes are teams of phone counselors and hip young producers.

Waiting behind an Islamic veil 7,000 miles away is an exploding house-church movement in Iran, whose compatriots eavesdrop on the illegal satellite programs produced daily by Pastor Shariat's Iranian Christian Church (ICC).

If there is a budding missional community of Muslim-background believers in America, it is the Iranians. These believers' passion is to reach Muslims worldwide, and they are being energized not by the now-grown children of the Islamic Revolution, but by their bicultural kids longing to discover their Persian roots.

On Sunday mornings in the church's bright sanctuary in Sunnyvale, California, 200 smartly dressed adults worship with traditional tambourines in their native Farsi language. Down the hall, a rhythmic Persian beat fades into David Crowder rock lyrics through a door diminutively marked English Worship Center. Gathered in the dimly lit room are 50 young people with spiked hair and stonewashed jeans.

This house-church plant evolved several years ago when ICC's original youth group began growing their own families and careers. "They weren't comfortable in their parents' Farsi culture," Shariat said. "But they didn't fit into purely American churches either. We were losing them."

His own daughter, Hanniel, announced at age 18 that she was leaving the church her father had painstakingly planted because it was "too Iranian." After two years of self-discovery in American megachurches, a curious thing happened: Hanniel wanted to know her Persian story. She recognized her calling to ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Recommended'Pioneer Girl' Laura Ingalls Wilder's Real Memoir Overturns Our False Nostalgia
'Pioneer Girl' Laura Ingalls Wilder's Real Memoir Overturns Our False Nostalgia
After realizing the grittiness of the past, we can face the brokenness of the present
TrendingAttempt to Market Anti-Porn Ministry to Mark Driscoll Fans Goes Bad
Attempt to Market Anti-Porn Ministry to Mark Driscoll Fans Goes Bad
Craig Gross on XXXchurch email blast to Resurgence list: 'They sold us your email for a penny.'
Editor's PickThe Dance of Suffering and Love
The Dance of Suffering and Love
What to do with our grief for the world.
Comments
Christianity Today
It's Primetime in Iran
hide thisSeptember September

In the Magazine

September 2008

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.