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World Watch List 2022: Overview

At least 360 million Christians around the world experience high levels of persecution and discrimination. That’s an astonishing 1 in 7 of the global Christian population.

Persecution of Christians has reached the highest levels since the World Watch List began nearly 30 years ago. For much of that time North Korea has been the most dangerous country in the world to be a Christian. This year it recorded its highest ever score – yet it dropped to number two. Because right now, nowhere in the world is more dangerous for Christians than Afghanistan.

Key things to know…

  • The Taliban has taken control in Afghanistan – boosting the morale of extremists everywhere
  • The global church is increasingly a refugee church – due to violence and attacks, millions of Christians have fled homes in countries from Nigeria to Afghanistan. Many Christians are displaced, living without permanent jobs and homes, making them even more vulnerable
  • China is increasing centralised control of religion, restricting access to Christians materials and locking down the internet. Other nations are following their example.
  • The church continues to be hit by COVID – allowing governments and gangs to exploit it for their own ends. In some regions in China, churches that closed due to Covid were denied permission to reopen. In Vietnam churches were blamed for outbreaks – one church was even prosecuted

Any good signs?

This might seem bleak, but we know that ‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’ (John 1:5)

Those seeking to restrict and remove the Church haven’t succeeded. They cannot succeed. Despite threats, terror, limits, rules, violence and more, the church is growing.

It is happening almost unnoticed, under-the-radar, as tiny as a mustard seed. Lives are changed in the unlikeliest of places. In the toilet blocks of North Korean labour camps, or behind closed doors in Somali houses; disguised as chats over coffee in North African cafés, or in remote villages off Central Asian passes – wherever two or three are gathered in Jesus’ name the secret kingdom is living, vibrant and powerful.

It doesn’t look like power. Not as the world understands it. But it is a kingdom that cannot – will not – be destroyed.

All around the world Christ is building His church, and nothing will prevail against it.

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