A Persian-language TV broadcaster from Los Angeles has partnered with a Texas-based ministry to reach Iran with the Gospel.
Iran Alive Ministries (IAM) has officially partnered with Channel One/Kanal Yek TV, landing a primetime slot for the broadcaster’s Gospel-centric programming.
In addition to distributing more than 200,000 Bibles in Iran since 2001, IAM broadcasts a 24/7 satellite channel with Gospel messaging into the Middle East and Central Asia — all from a home studio located just north of Dallas, Texas.
“With this partnership, we will gain many new secular-minded audiences who have already rejected Islam, so we are reaching a new population that may not have a desire to watch a Christian channel,” said Hormoz Shariat, founder of IAM and host of its daily broadcast. “In one sense, since they have not come to us, we are going to them.
“This is what Jesus commands us: To go, and be all things to all people so that we may win some.”
Shariat’s heart for Iranians undoubtedly stems from his upbringing in Iran in a Muslim home. He became a follower of Jesus in 1980 after a comparative study of the Bible and Quran, and went on to earn his Ph.D. in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Southern California (USC) and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible and theology from Jessup University.
Under the new partnership with Channel One, IAM holds a primetime Friday afternoon timeslot for programming. Shariat says for Iranians, Friday afternoon is comparable to an American Sunday afternoon — an ideal time for watching television.
Channel One is one of the oldest and most-watched channels based in the U.S and attracts a constant viewership from within Iran via satellite, despite the Islamic nation’s tightly controlled media, according to Shariat.
Via satellite, Shariat’s channel, Shabakeh7, is the most watched Christian channel in Iran with over 6 million daily viewers — nearly 8% of the population — and a weekly audience of over 20 million.
In addition to TV programming, IAM also offers online resources to provide Iranians with further education about Christianity, the “Go Movement,” which seeks to fend for the oppressed women in Iran’s radical Islamic reign, and what Shariat called an “extensive underground church network that is daily serving the discipleship needs of the fastest growing evangelical population in the entire world.”
Shariat says he started IAM with the vision of “transforming Iran into a Christian nation” as prophesied in the Old Testament, adding he “firmly believes that Iran will be the first Islamic nation that turns to Christ.
“[Iran] is ready for a major transformation — spiritually, socially, financially and politically, and it will be a Christian nation soon as prophesied in Jeremiah 49:38,” he said.
The program has more than 2,500 students enrolled in IAM’s online equipping school trained to serve the Lord.
Through his satellite broadcasts, Shariat said as many as 6 million Iranians are exposed to the Gospel message — but without any way to grow in their faith.
That’s why, Shariat says, he started the 4:12 School, a free leadership training and equipping course to assist newly-converted Iranian Christians.
“When students are properly educated and discipled, they can bring the Word of God to the ends of the Earth,” said Shariat. “The time is short, and this window of opportunity to build God’s church in Iran is about to close.
“We must remember that whatever happens in Iran — good or bad — will impact the whole Middle East.”