*representative image used
For Pastor Omar* in Central Asia, preaching the gospel could very well cost him everything. Last week, the National Security Department summoned him with a warning that he must stop holding church meetings, threatening arrest and imprisonment should he not comply.
Technically, church meetings are legal in Pastor Omar’s country, yet tight restrictions make securing necessary government registration a near impossibility. Because many in his congregation travel from nearby villages to attend church meetings, the church is refused registration on the grounds that they lack enough members in a single location. This leaves Pastor Omar with an impossible choice: risk everything to continue the ministry, or protect himself, his family and his congregation by complying with the government’s demands?
Currently, church members are meeting together secretly and will continue to do so while their church is denied official registration. Their situation is not all that different from the churches in the New Testament, who risked it all to gather together for fellowship, baptism, communion and worship.
Pastor Omar and his church members know the importance of these gatherings:
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25) (emphasis added)
As the situation continues to play out, join us in going before our sovereign God in prayer, asking that:
- He would protect Pastor Omar and his family
- the church would be granted official registration
- the preaching of the gospel would continue unhindered