Did you know that:
- Every day, one in 12 Christians in the world experiences high, very high, or extreme persecution for following Jesus.
- Every month, 66 churches are attacked, burned or vandalized.
- Each day, six Christian women are raped, sexually harassed or forced into marriage.
- Every month, 2,800 Christians are forced to leave their home because they believe in Jesus.
More than any time in modern history, Christian persecution is increasing worldwide with more and more instances of Christian torture. In more than 60 countries today, Christians risk isolation, ridicule, imprisonment, loss of their homes, torture, rape and even death for their faith in Jesus.
Open Doors is on the frontlines in these countries standing with suffering believers and equipping the Church. And we’re doing it through people like you who recognize our call as Christians to stand with our brothers and sisters in Christ and be a voice for the persecuted Church.
We have more than 200 volunteers in the United States who are partnering with us to create awareness of persecuted believers and to pray for, encourage and advocate for them. Recently, we asked our volunteers to share their best ideas for talking about Christian persecution, and the responses poured in. Below they offer specific ways you can begin to be a voice for our persecuted family.
8 Idea Starters
- Leverage your social media presence. You can share or retweet a post from one of Open Doors’ social pages (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) with a personal note of recommendation and how this story inspired you. Volunteers tell us that sharing on social media has initiated conversations and opened the eyes of some of their friends who didn’t know 21st-century persecution even existed today.
- Share Open Doors World Watch List with your church and prayer groups. Each year, Open Doors releases an in-depth report of the top 50 countries where it’s most dangerous to be a Christian. The World Watch List booklet (available here) offers specific information to help you pray with believers in these countries. Numerous volunteers mentioned that they print out the individual country pages from the booklet and put copies in their church bulletin or use them to hand out to prayer groups and as people walk into their local church’s worship service.
- Post the World Watch List map. The Open Doors website features a world map of the top 50 countries where persecution is happening (see above). Our volunteers said they often print out the map and post it on bulletin boards in their church, on their fridge at home, and even in local coffee shops to create awareness and start the conversation.
- Share within your unique Christian circles. If your children attend a Christian school or if you work in a Christian organization, our volunteers recommend using the World Watch List map for learning opportunities, such as a geography lesson that teachers can use to educate students about various countries. Kids can also create written or digital reports on a specific country and brainstorm a relevant country-specific activity like finding and making a recipe for an ethnic treat.
- Ask your church for a designated space. Many of our volunteers have tables in their church where they pass out resources, answer questions and share about upcoming events, such as webinars and conferences, and letter-writing campaigns to persecuted believers, etc. When the message series topic is specifically relevant to persecution (such as global outreach, compassion, or missions), they make it a point to be there in the resource area to answer questions and give people a starting place for engaging with persecuted believers.
- Help facilitate International Day of Prayer (IDOP). Each year, churches all over the United States come together to pray with the persecuted Church. Our volunteers say IDOP is an excellent opportunity for mass communication. On the day of or during the weeks leading up to IDOP, they speak in worship services and Sunday school groups. They also suggest passing out or inserting the November issue of Open Doors’ monthly prayer newsletter called Prayer Force Alert in your church bulletin.
- Share in your prayer or small groups. Many of our volunteers engage their weekly small groups in a variety of ways. Some volunteers lead prayer for the persecuted Church during prayer time each week. Others have led their group to adopt specific countries. They write letters, pray for specific people they’ve read about in Open Doors’ stories and support them financially.
- Lead a study on Christian persecution. Our volunteers recommend using Open Doors’ four-week small group series called The Ripple Effect to lead a focused study. The series is designed specifically for small groups and includes DVDs and a discussion guide that helps groups take a deeper dive, including what Scripture says about persecution. A pastor, J.D. Greear, introduces each week’s topic and guides groups through each session.
As God’s people, we have the opportunity to make a lasting impact in the lives of persecuted believers and in the lives of those around us. Our volunteers have seen firsthand how our faith and prayer life changes when we begin to learn and care about the persecuted Church.
How will you be a voice for persecuted Christians today?
We’d love to hear your stories and ideas for making the persecuted Church unavoidable to the American Church! Please share your experiences and tips in the comments below or email us [email protected]. Open Doors is looking for people who want to use their time, talents and energies to stand with their brothers and sisters in Christ.