For almost 50 years, the church in the United States has faithfully prayed and supported the persecuted church through the ministry of Open Doors. Starting in June 2022, the leadership of Open Doors International and Open Doors USA entered a period of discussion and prayerful discernment about their future relationship. Both boards prayerfully agreed that their respective missions would be best achieved by moving forward separately. Both organizations remain committed to serving the persecuted Church and will continue to work independently to advocate and to mobilize support and prayer for this vital cause.
Effective January 1, 2023, the former Open Doors affiliate in the United States is no longer affiliated with the global ministry of Open Doors and its work supporting persecuted Christians. The senior leadership, staff, and board of the former U.S. affiliate will continue to support the persecuted church worldwide as Global Christian Relief. Open Doors will continue its work in the United States through a new affiliate known as Open Doors U.S., led by interim CEO Lisa Pearce, which will support the continuing Open Doors field work in 70 countries.
Open Doors has established the world’s largest underground network serving persecuted Christians globally, providing support, prayer, and encouragement to the persecuted church in over 70 countries—this work has taken more than 68 years of courageous and often dangerous work by teams in the countries where Christians are most persecuted. Open Doors remains fully committed to the mission that its founder Brother Andrew, who passed away in mid-September this year, began in 1955: To serve Christians suffering the most extreme persecution and discrimination, and to mobilize the church in prayer and support through offices in 24 countries, including the United States. Open Doors’ authoritative World Watch List, which will be released on January 18, reports that over 360 million Christians around the world suffer high levels of persecution and discrimination.
“We are thankful for our U.S. supporters and what our former U.S. affiliate has done in the past to raise awareness, prayer and support for those who share our faith in Christ but not our freedom,” said Dan Ole Shani, CEO of Open Doors International. “Open Doors International looks forward to a new chapter in our ministry in the US, as we build unity and connection between the persecuted church and the worldwide body of Christ through the new Open Doors U.S.”
Global Christian Relief will expand on its team’s experience mobilizing U.S. Christians to stand with persecuted Christians so they can be a light for the Gospel in their communities.
“We have enormous respect for Open Doors’ presence and work in the most difficult places,” said David Curry, CEO of Global Christian Relief and commissioner on the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). “Brother Andrew was significantly influential in my life, and nobody does better field work than Open Doors. We are excited to expand our vision and networks over our next 50 years of ministry. Working directly with multiple partners and networks in the most restricted countries to the Christian faith, GCR will seek to strengthen the church and advocate for religious freedom in places where it is needed most, including Afghanistan, North Korea, Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, India, and more.”
The organizations’ decisions to work independently comes as worldwide oppression of Christians has reached historic levels.
“We currently have a handful of ministries doing this work,” Curry added. “We need a thousand.”
“The challenge to all missions organizations working in this sector is to scale up our work to meet the needs of the church in the face of dramatic rise in persecution in recent years,” said Ole Shani. “The global church needs to take its responsibility seriously to ensure that our brothers and sisters in Christ do not face their trial alone.”
Brother Andrew famously stated: “God wants to use us to work out His purposes. What a privilege and responsibility! So let’s get on our knees and pray. And may God use our prayer to change the course of history in these nations. For the sake of His people and for His glory!”
For more information about Open Doors U.S., visit www.OpenDoorsUS.org / www.opendoors.org
For more information about Global Christian Relief, visit www.globalchristianrelief.org