The World Watch List ranks the top 50 most dangerous places to be a Christian. Every year, Open Doors compiles the list; the latest has just been released.
But when we live in a relatively stable and free country such as Australia, why does the World Watch List matter?
Here are the top 5 reasons why you should care about the World Watch List.
It reveals the reality of following Jesus
About 340 million Christians face persecution today. That’s one in eight believers who choose to put their safety, their livelihoods, their privacy and even their lives on the line. All to follow Jesus.
The World Watch List exposes the true reality of following Jesus around the world and illustrates just what sacrifices are made by those who share our faith, but not our freedom.
It shows where God is at work
Persecution exists wherever the gospel is shared.
In order to stop persecution, all we would have to do is tell people to stop sharing the gospel. But in accordance with Jesus’ call for those who love him to keep sharing his transformational message (Matthew 28), we can work together to strengthen the Church for that good task – even in the hardest places.
The World Watch List reveals to us where following Jesus is most dangerous. With this, we know God is at work in these nations and the message of the gospel is being shared, no matter the cost.
It indicates where our support is most needed
As persecution in each country changes and the situation shifts, it’s important that we adapt and consider how we can best serve our persecuted brothers and sisters. Whether it be prayer, discipleship, emergency relief or community development, with your support we are part of the help required to meet the unique needs of the persecuted church.
For example, even the Bibles delivered by Open Doors are requested by our local partners for a specific person, church or pastor. That means every Bible has a destination and a purpose.
It is the World Watch List that helps us adjust to meet the needs of the persecuted church.
The persecuted church are the best mentors for our faith.
It is the most authoritative list of its kind
For 30 years, Open Doors has produced an annual World Watch List. It is compiled by a group of experts, including 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.
By exploring the World Watch List, you are equipping yourself with some of the most reliable research found on Christian persecution today.
It teaches us to follow Jesus, no matter the cost
The persecuted church are the best mentors for our faith. These are Christians who have truly learned the cost of following Jesus. And yet, they continue to faithfully follow Him.
While exposing the lived reality of millions of Christians around the world, the World Watch List reminds us that we shouldn’t try to avoid persecution. Rather, we should be running towards it with courageous obedience, knowing that wherever the gospel is being shared, persecution exists.
Murray Noble is a Communication Specialist and Researcher for Open Doors Australia. From years of travel and living overseas, Murray has a heart for social justice and a passion for giving all people the opportunity to live free of persecution or discrimination. Murray currently lives in Sydney, Australia, and is an active member in his local community and church.