Azerbaijan: the church

Recently a Christian visited one of the few public gatherings of Christians in Baku, the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan, of 2 million people. Crowding into the men’s section, he met Elxan, a gray-haired Azerbaijani. Elxan showed a notebook of his handwritten poetry and read one of his poems, exposing his rich faith. The congregation’s enthusiastic response revealed his skill for weaving gospel truths into rich Azerbaijani form. It also showed that the universal gospel can wear Azerbaijani clothes!

Christ’s church is growing, though it’s still centered mainly in Baku. However, a deadly root from the past – a deep mistrust of others (common to both Communistic and Islamic societies) – threatens widespread growth. Such fear presents a formidable obstacle to many new believers in budding home fellowships as they try to build Christian communities of acceptance and trust.

The church saw a surge of growth in the mid-90′s, from less than a 100 Azerbaijani believers to perhaps as many as 10,000 making professions of faith in Christ. Yet today, the number of baptized disciples is much smaller. Today the percentage of Azerbaijani believers is less than 0.1% of the population.

Pray for the Church.

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