When Open Doors Founder Brother Andrew returned from his first visit behind the Iron Curtain in July 1955, he hadn’t been home a week before the invitations began to come in.
“Churches, clubs, civic groups, schools; everybody wanted to know about life behind the Iron Curtain,” he shares in God’s Smuggler. He goes on to write, “I accepted them all. In part, I needed the payment they offered. But I had an even stronger reason. Somehow I felt sure that through the speeches I was going to be shown what I was to do next.”
As Andrew shared about the people he met during his travels, God did begin to show him the next steps. But it was also through the stories he shared that God moved in the hearts of those who heard him speak. And they felt compelled to do something. Through that support, the ministry of Open Doors began and it grew.
Today, the same is true. The only difference is who is sharing the stories. Which is why Open Doors Influencers and their role are so important. As an Influencer, you serve as a voice for the persecuted church using your social media networks. Our Influencers take on the responsibility of sharing the stories of our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world so that the body of Christ can stand with them.
For we are one body and “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (1 Cor. 12:26). But that response depends on us knowing what our family is walking through. Open Doors Influencers use social media—the medium of our day—to share those stories and create awareness.
We talked to three of our Influencers to hear what drives them to use their social media to share the stories of the persecuted church—and exactly how they’re doing it. They’re from all walks of life—a Marine stationed in North Carolina, an Anglican priest in Virginia and a journalist in Michigan. All share the same passion to share the stories.
If you’re sensing God calling you to use your social media in this way, we’d love to talk to you and tell you more about this vital role. Just visit us here.
Raising Awareness—and following a vision
Alex Wootton, husband to Kellynne, from Owensboro, Kentucky. Alex is a U.S. Marine, currently stationed in Jacksonville, North Carolina.
Alex’s first introduction to the persecuted church came through the book Counter Culture by pastor and author David Platt. On the book’s website, he found Open Doors and began to take a deeper dive.
“Through talking to others, I discovered that there was a lack of awareness about our persecuted family.”
But it wasn’t until he read God’s Smuggler, the memoir of Open Doors Founder Brother Andrew, that he felt the Spirit leading him to become an Influencer. The story that first grabbed him, he says, was a report on U.S. Pastor Andrew Brunson, formerly imprisoned in Turkey. He signed up for email updates to follow his story.
On his Facebook page, Alex shares Open Doors’ posts and takes the time to add personal comments.
“[Adding comments] shows that I actually care about what is happening and that I’m not simply going through the motions,” he explains.
Currently, Alex is working on a fundraiser to raise even greater awareness for the persecuted church and Open Doors.
“The vision God gave me is to raise 30,000 dollars in a month by using my passion for cycling,” he says, adding that he’s asking for pledges for every mile he rides. He has set a goal of 1,000 miles in a month.
“If we got 300 people who pledged 10 cents for every mile, we would hit that goal. I know this is truly from God, and we will exceed beyond what we can imagine. I hope and pray that through our united efforts the church in America will gain increased awareness of our persecuted brothers and sisters. God’s Word tells us in 1 Corinthians 12:26 that we are to suffer together. But we can’t do that if we don’t know what our family is going through.
How Can We Not Stand?
Jason Hess, 38, husband and father of three teenagers on the Middle Peninsula of Virginia. Jason is bi-vocational priest in the Orthodox Anglican Church and serves as the rector of St. Thomas Anglican Mission.
For Jason, the persecuted church has been a growing passion since he trusted Christ in 1997. But he didn’t set out to become an Open Doors Influencer. Like others, he joined our Social Influencers Facebook group before officially signing up to become an Influencer.
“I was merely looking for a way to bring the reality of the persecuted church to our parishioners. When I discovered the Influencers Facebook group, I knew that between it and Open Doors’ Facebook page, there was plenty of information to stir up awareness.”
Jason posts regularly on both his personal Facebook page, as well as his church’s Facebook page. He often builds his posts around the weekly country prayer focus on our Social Influencers Facebook page. Every Monday, he shares about the country and midweek, he shares the World Watch List link for that country, as well as specific ways to pray for believers there. He also shares various posts from the Open Doors USA Facebook page, especially breaking news. And he has begun to post a tweet of the weekly #2019WWL highlight.
“We can’t wait for someone else to encourage and serve our persecuted family. That kind of thinking leads to inaction. The struggles of the persecuted are our struggles. If we truly believe that as believers in Christ we are one body, how can we not stand with our persecuted family?”
Doing Much for the Kingdom
Jennifer Cramer, 50, mother of two. Jennifer is a journalist and executive director of a ministry working with Christians in Egypt.
Jennifer first became aware of Open Doors and Christian persecution when she consulted the World Watch List in an effort to learn more about Christians in Egypt.
“I was appalled at the list and the information Open Doors had gathered! I read everything on the site, and it opened my eyes to a whole world of persecution.”
What she learned compelled her to sign up for Open Doors regular emails and download our prayer app. Soon, she was looking for other ways to help and discovered the opportunity to become an Influencer.
“Even though I work in another ministry, it is all for the Kingdom.”
Jennifer regularly shares Open Doors’ posts on her personal social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Twitter), adding personal comments. She also writes her own posts and blogs, as well. Her passion for God’s Church is both evident and contagious:
“I want to become a loud voice in the world for Christ! He said be My hands and feet. I want to feed, clothe and help the needy and the poor, sustain the church, preach the gospel, save the lost, travel to the hopeless and shout from the mountains for protecting the persecuted church. I want to send them Bibles, protection, help and hope. NOTHING less will do. We were saved to go out and save others. It is our marching orders.
“I hope that in five years, Open Doors and many people can say Jennifer Cramer is doing much for the Kingdom!”
Are You Ready to Use Your Voice?
We ask you to consider whether “persecution” could be one of those areas where you might commit to serve God throughout your life. We need more people like you to join us in being the Brother Andrews of this generation by using your social media accounts to share what God is doing in and through persecuted Christians around the globe.
When you volunteer to become an Influencer, we commit to provide you the stories, prayer requests, resources and opportunities needed to bring your friends and followers into the conversation about persecuted Christians.
When you join us…here’s what to expect
- Monthly email: These will briefly share Open Doors’ monthly focus and provide simple ways you can get involved and share with your networks.
- Text message updates: You will receive one text update per week that invites you to join in praying and inviting others to support persecuted Christians.
- Facebook Group: An invitation to join our FB Group where you can connect with other Influencers, but also where we can send you information, words of encouragement and resources to share.
At Open Doors, we consider every person who volunteers to support persecuted Christians as a part of our team. We could not serve Christian communities in over 60 countries around the world without your help.