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News / Thoughts

Colombia: Armed criminals targeting church leaders

March 11, 2019

On the evening of 9 February, Pastor Leider Molina* was leaving his church after preaching. As he stepped outside, he was shot with five bullets that quickly ended his life.

Pastor Molina, 24, was a youth leader working for his church. He was active in his community as a man passionate about living and preaching the Word of God.

It’s for this very reason that he became a target.

A war on the church

In Colombia, illegal armed groups such as communist guerrillas, criminal gangs, and drug cartels often target Christian leaders like Pastor Molina. As they share the gospel, many young people come to Christ and so renounce their ties to these groups.

Because of this, these groups see the church as an enemy and seek to eradicate its influence.

Sharing the gospel establishes direct opposition to the purposes of armed groups. In response, these groups attack the church’s leaders in attempts to slow its spread. Since September, five church leaders, including Leider, have been killed because they have opposed or challenged these armed criminal groups. The attacks are taking their toll on the Colombian church.

Image: Young people gather for a national Christian youth meeting in rural Colombia

Caught in the crossfire

According to local partners, “Some Christians have fled with their families, while others have decided to stay awaiting government intervention. Church leaders, however, continue their work despite the death threats.”

The church shares the message of Christ in the crossfire of a country that needs the peace only God can offer.

Colombia is ranked #47 on the 2019 World Watch List of the countries where it is most dangerous to follow Jesus.

Open Doors provides emergency relief to persecuted Christians and their families in Colombia. We also develop and distribute biblical training materials to strengthen the church.

Pray now…

  • Pray for the families of these pastors to know God’s peace, comfort, and provision.
  • Pray that the church and their leaders to continue to share Jesus despite persecution.
  • Pray for those who persecute the church, that God might move in their hearts and bring them to Himself.

*Names changed for security purposes.

We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.