02/01/2019 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Establishing churches and places of worship has proven to be a significant challenge for the Church in Turkey. Currently, there are only 10 official Protestant church buildings in Turkey, forcing many churches to meet in private homes.
The challenges these churches face have greatly hindered the ability of churches to gather and practice their faith openly. Often, the poorer Christian communities are unable to overcome these challenges, which then stagnates church growth. Turkey’s Iranian refugee community has experienced these challenges firsthand. Many of these refugees fled from Iran to Turkey because of faith-based persecution. However, through their witness, the Gospel has significantly spread among Iranian refugees. It is a well-known secret in Turkey that the Gospel is growing quickly among Iranians.
A local ministry shared with ICC that there was a small church in western Turkey that grew to over 70 Iranian believers, but was being forced out of the building that the congregation used for worship. However, as the congregation began looking for a new meeting place, they found that many landlords refused to rent space to Christians. Thankfully, the church was eventually able to find a landlord willing to rent to them. A college professor owned a brand new building near the center of the city that would be perfect for the church to gather in to worship.
Once in the new building, ICC paid for the first four months of rent and utilities to assist the congregation during their time of transition. The pastor expressed, “This place is a blessing for us; we all know the value of this location after three years of servicing in the houses.”
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