Area: 2,717,300 sq km
World’s ninth-largest country. Dominating Central Asia and trade routes between east and west. Much of the country is semi-desert.
Population: 15,753,460 Annual Growth: 0.73%
Official language: Kazakh Languages: 43 All languages
Largest Religion: Muslim
|Religion||Pop %||Ann Gr|
Unreached minorities. Kazakhstans cultural and religious diversity provides many opportunities for evangelizing Central Asian peoples. A number of Uzbeks and Uyghurs in Kazakhstan are turning to Christ and beginning to take the gospel back to their own people! Christianity is still largely an urban phenomenon, but the churches and missions (Baptists, Korean groups, some Western agencies) are recruiting for village ministry. Pray that the gospel might be shared, in the listeners language, in the many towns and villages of this sprawling land.
The Christian population in Kazakhstan is slowly shifting from an ethnic European majority toward an Asian one. Korean churches have grown, as have most charismatic, Pentecostal and some Baptist groups among Central Asian ethnicities. The challenges are manifold:
a) Training is vital. There were a healthy number of Bible colleges and seminaries as well as discipleship schools; all have had to shut down due to changes in the law, and none have been allowed to re-register. TEE and distance learning have potential, if churches are willing to invest in the concept. Appropriate models of training that can be implemented on a wider level are essential as budding leaders need mentors and spiritual fathers. Pray for programmes that develop informed, well-trained, godly leaders.
b) Culturally helpful forms of following Jesus communally. Spirit-led expressions of Kazakh, as well as multicultural, worship, prayer, discipleship and teaching are necessary for the Church to go to the next level. Only 26% of believers are men; clearly some cultural preconceptions need to be shifted.
c) Persecution is increasing. Harassment from authorities, from strident Muslims and from unbelieving family members makes life difficult, especially for converts outside the two main cities. Unconstitutional laws on registering churches are complicated by obstructionism for those who try to register and heavy fines for those who dont.
d) The level of unity and partnership is encouraging. The Evangelical Alliance of Kazakhstan is at a growing stage but has great potential to draw the many groups together. Pray that in the face of increasing opposition and growing theological diversity, believers may stay united.
e) Kazakhstan is becoming a sending nation, a distant dream only 15 years ago. Several mission-training institutes in Kazakhstan had been supported by a number of indigenous, Russian, Western and Korean groups and agencies until their recent closure. Kazakhs (including ethnic minorities) are a strategic key to reaching Central Asia and the Muslim world. Pray for this very young mission movement to grow and spread.
For an additional 7 Challenges for Prayer see Operation World book, CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM.
The Operation World book, CD-ROM, and DVD-ROM provide far more information and fuel for prayer for the people of Kazakhstan.