Friday, September 21, 2012

‘Join’ the secret church for a day

These Iranian believers gather in secret to study God’s Word.
Looking for ways to get your church more involved in praying for and serving our persecuted brothers and sisters? Try out this idea from our sister mission in the UK, Release International. This activity would work especially well on The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) on November 4.
1. During a Sunday church service, fill a container with enough slips of paper to cover the number of people in your meeting, including six with the word “Christian” written on them and six with the words “secret police.” The former should also include a simple codeword so that the six “Christians” can identify each other in conversation (i.e. “peace” or “joy,” or something more generic, like “lunchtime”). The rest of the slips should be blank. Make sure the slips are folded so that only the recipient can see what’s written on them.
Note: You may like to increase or decrease the numbers of Christians and police or the time you allow for the activity depending on the size of your congregation. Alternatively, you can select a certain number of members of your church to act out this scenario while the rest of the congregation watches from their seats. This activity could also be used with a youth group or Bible study.
2. Next, ask every member of your church to take a slip from the container (without showing anyone else) before or during the service.
3. At an appropriate point in the service, inform the congregation that they now have 10 minutes to engage in conversation during which time the six “Christians” have to try to find each other without alerting the “secret police,” and the six “secret police” have to try to identify the Christians.
4. Can the Christians discover each other without being detected by the police? At the end of 10 minutes the police reveal who they are and then say who they think the Christians are. Will they have guessed correctly? The Christians can then identify themselves and reveal whether they were able to spot each other during the activity.
The goal of this activity will give you a better understanding of how careful and cautious Christian converts need to be in expressing their faith in countries such as Iran. We recommend that, if at all possible, you run the activity during your actual service, rather than during refreshments afterwards, so that the congregation is focused on the event.

If you do take part in this activity, please be sure to let us know! Send us your story, including photographs if possible, and we will share about it on our blog.

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