The World Watch List ranks the top 50 most dangerous places to be a Christian. But why does it matter?
Here are the top five reasons why you should care about the World Watch List.
1. It reveals the reality of following Jesus
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.
2. 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 (Matthew 28), together, we are working to strengthen the church to continue sharing the transformational message of the gospel, 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.
3. It indicates where your 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 working to meet the unique needs of the persecuted church.
Even the Bibles we deliver 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 persecuted church.
4. 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, 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.
By exploring the World Watch List, you are equipping yourself with some of the most reliable research found on Christian persecution today.
5. 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 learnt the cost of following Jesus. And yet, they continue to faithfully follow him, no matter the cost.
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.
Contributor: Murray Noble
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, regardless of their location or situation.
Murray currently lives in Sydney, Australia, and is an active member in his local community and church. He thinks deeply about our world and how we can use peaceful solutions to improve the quality of life for all people, through meaningful, sustainable change.