What is Open Doors USA?
Open Doors USA is a non-profit organization focused on serving persecuted Christians in more than 60 countries through:
- Bible & Gospel Development
- Women & Children Advancement and
- Christian Community Restoration
What is persecution, and how many Christians experience it?
Christian persecution is any hostility experienced from the world as a result of one’s identification as a Christian. Beatings, physical torture, confinement, isolation, rape, severe punishment, imprisonment, slavery, discrimination in education and employment, and even death are just a few examples of the persecution they experience on a daily basis.
According to The Pew Research Center, over 75% of the world’s population lives in areas with severe religious restrictions (and many of these people are Christians). Also, according to the United States Department of State, Christians in more than 60 countries face persecution from their governments or surrounding neighbors simply because of their belief in Jesus Christ.
How was Open Doors USA started?
The year was 1955. A young Dutchman was burdened with the desire to reach out to Christians in Eastern Europe, where Christianity was becoming more and more illegal. He took his first trip to visit Christians in Poland, and was amazed at what he saw:
Entire underground churches with only one Bible to share!
Brother Andrew knew he had to do something. Two years later, he arrived at the same border in a VW Bug filled with Bibles. He knew that if he was caught with the Bibles, he would be arrested, so he prayed:
“Lord- In Your Word, You made blind men see. Now, I am praying that you would make seeing eyes blind.”
And God answered his prayer!
Brother Andrew was able to deliver Bibles and training materials to Christians in Eastern Europe, allowing Christians to freely read God’s Word in those countries. Today, Open Doors – the ministry started by Brother Andrew– has expanded to strengthen persecuted Christians in over 60 countries!
Why does Open Doors focus on persecuted Christians?
When Open Doors was started by Brother Andrew in 1955, he felt a calling from God to minister to fellow Christians who were persecuted for their faith. As a result, Open Doors has specialized in helping Christians who are persecuted for their faith. However, we work with persecuted Christians to reach out to non-Christians, even their persecutors, so that they can reach them with the message of Christ.
How can I help persecuted Christians?
Pray: The #1 thing that persecuted Christians ask for is prayer. Learn more about the different ways you can pray for persecuted Christians.
Volunteer: You can have an amazing impact on persecuted Christians here in the United States. Learn more about our volunteer opportunities here.
Advocate: Be a voice for the voiceless! Through petitions, education and contacting cultural leaders, you can change the course of history for persecuted Christians. Learn more here.
Donate: You can make a world of difference in the life of a persecuted Christian by providing for their greatest needs. Check out the different ways you can support those who are persecuted for their faith here.
Why does Open Doors work with and support Roman Catholics (or evangelical, or Eastern Orthodox, etc.) and that group’s churches?
When Brother Andrew heard God’s voice telling him to “Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die” (in the words of Revelation 3:2), he knew God’s call was to take a step of faith and do whatever he could to support believers and churches in the most dangerous areas of the world.
In some places that meant supporting churches that have been around for centuries; in other countries, it meant supporting and fanning the flames of a small movement. It meant providing Bibles to the Russian Orthodox Church in the midst of Communism, it meant working alongside Copts in Egypt, Roman Catholics in Poland, Anglican churches in India, evangelical churches wherever they were springing up and any other community of Christians who were suffering for the Gospel.
Open Doors has always worked with people who claim the name of Jesus and preach the gospel as revealed in God’s Word, regardless of their denomination or faith tradition. While there are certainly important theological distinctions between Protestants, Catholics and Eastern Orthodox, what binds us together is bigger than those distinctions—particularly in regions where it’s difficult to follow Jesus! If you’re unsure about why we work or support a particular group, consider that people in that group are suffering because they refuse to recant their faith in Jesus and their commitment to the gospel. They are being persecuted for their faith, and to Open Doors, that knits them to the global Church in ways that can never be destroyed!
With God’s help, Open Doors seeks to “strengthen what remains”—that means that we’ll help anyone who is suffering because they follow Christ. We are intentionally non-denominational and have a staff from a variety of church backgrounds and traditions. We believe that followers of Jesus can worship differently, so long as they proclaim, in word and deed, the life, death and resurrection of Jesus!