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News / Thoughts

Why does the World Watch List matter?

January 14, 2019

The World Watch List ranks the top 50 countries where it’s most dangerous to be a Christian. Each year Open Doors releases an updated list – the 2019 list is being launched this Wednesday, but why does the World Watch List matter?

1. It shows us where God is at work

As a ministry, we don’t exist to end persecution.

In order to stop persecution, all we would have to do is tell people to stop talking about Jesus. Because, the reality is, wherever the gospel is being preached, persecution exists. Instead, we work to strengthen the church to continue sharing the message of Jesus.

The World Watch List shows us the places where persecution is on the rise. God is at work in these nations and the message of the gospel is being shared.

2. It is trustworthy

For almost 30 years, Open Doors have produced the World Watch List. The list is compiled by a group of experts, one director and five persecution analysts, who focus on a particular region. Each are experts in their field of study, with postgraduate or doctoral qualifications.

The list is then audited externally by the International Institute for Religious Freedom, and is accepted as the most authoritative list of its’ kind.

3. It affects the work we do

As a ministry, we work to strengthen the persecuted church to withstand persecution and continue sharing the gospel in their nation. We do this by coming alongside the local church, we find out what they’re doing in their community and ask how can we help.

As persecution in each country changes and the situation shifts, we adapt and consider how we can best serve the persecuted church. Emergency relief, trauma counselling, discipleship, micro loans and income generating projects we do in the field all depend on the changing needs of the persecuted church. Even the Bibles we deliver are requested by our local partners in-country for a specific person, church or pastor. That means every Bible has a destination and a purpose.

It’s the local church solution, and the World Watch List helps us adjust to meet the needs of persecuted church.

Image: Open Doors gives people access to the Bible.

4. It impacts the UK church
Our twofold mission is to strengthen and prepare Christians living in persecution, and to mobilise the UK church to identify with the global body of Christ.

Your support helps believers living in some of the darkest places on Earth to be the light of Jesus in their community. As their stories make their way into our churches, Bible studies and homes, we also see the UK church become bolder in their faith.

5. It impacts you

The World Watch List reminds us we shouldn’t be trying to avoid persecution. We should be running towards it with courageous obedience, knowing that wherever the gospel is being shared, persecution exists.

“Don’t be afraid when persecution comes to you. It’s part of Christian life. It’s a privilege to be persecuted.”
Bahia*, 22 year-old-woman from India

What you can do…

The latest World Watch List has now been launched. Check out detailed info on the top ten countries and play about with our interactive map…

Make sure you also check out the updated World Watch List on Wednesday too for prayer points and info on the countries included on the list.


*Name changed for security purposes

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