came into focus with the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991, but the history of the people goes back more than 3,000 years. The region’s claim to fame to this day remains the Silk Road where cultures, races, and religions intersected along this historic trade route. With a total population of more than 287 million, the countries of Central Asia include Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
Christianity predated Islam in Central Asia. Nestorian Christian missionaries traveled the Silk Road to carry the Good News to these lands. But then the Islamic and Mongol conquerors came, bringing a profound change to the culture and religious beliefs of the people. Today, most Central Asians identify strongly with Muslim culture, but actual religious practice ranges from the very devout to the secular.
Over the last 20 years, many changes have occurred in the region. The break-up of the Soviet Union prompted each country to open to outside influences. Today, there are at least 50,000 evangelical believers from Muslim background in the former Soviet countries of Central Asia. However, growth in the local church has slowed in the last few years due to persecution, government restrictions, materialism, and reduced zeal to witness.
By far, the largest community of unreached people live in Pakistan where just 1% of the 187 million people are Christian. The existing Pakistani church has emerged from the lowest castes of society. Few Muslims have come to Christ due to strong cultural and religious boundaries between the Christian minority and Muslim majority. Though they face tremendous risks, Pakistani believers are boldly carrying the Good News to people who have never heard before.
Vision & Strategy
The opening of the Central Asia region is the newest for Partners International and our involvement there is currently in its early stages. Our long-term goal is to identify partners from among the evangelical churches and ministries in the region, helping to build up the Christian community and assist them in outreach.
Our current projects emphasize church planting, leadership training, community development, and health training.
Our work in Central Asia is led by our Central Asia Area Director (name withheld for security reasons) who has 15 years of experience in the region. For many years, she has equipped local leaders in leadership and economic and community development skills. Her role as Area Director is to identify opportunities for Partners to serve the indigenous Church and to provide pastoral care and strategic planning consulting to our partners.
How You Can Be A Partner
We invite you to partner with us in building the Church in Central Asia. Develop relationships with Partners International staff doing ministry in the region and with the leaders of our indigenous partners there. Pray for the region. Join our initiative that focuses on the needs of women. Use your professional skills. Join a short-term ministry team from your church. Financially sponsor a ministry outreach. Working together, we’ll see God build His Church in the least Christian regions of the world.