Open Doors is an international non-profit ministry that supports and strengthens persecuted Christians. Our goal at Open Doors Southern Africa is to connect with and strengthen persecuted believers worldwide, empowering them to reach out in love to their neighbours. By informing, inspiring and involving believers in Southern Africa, we hope to build deep and lasting connections within the Body of Christ and meet the ongoing needs of these persecuted Christians.
To strengthen and equip the body of Christ living under or facing restriction and persecution because of their faith in Jesus Christ, and to encourage their involvement in world evangelism by:
- Providing Bibles and literature, media, leadership training, socioeconomic development and through intercessory prayer;
- Preparing the body of Christ living in threatened or unstable areas to face persecution and suffering; and
- Educating and mobilising the body of Christ living in the free world to identify with threatened and persecuted Christians and to be actively involved in assisting them.
We do so because we believe when one member suffers, all members suffer with that member (1 Corinthians 12:26), all doors are open and God enables His Body to go into the entire world and to preach the Gospel.
Though it is sometimes difficult to identify the difference between persecution and the everyday inconveniences of living in a world hostile towards Christianity, there are some clear defining factors.
Persecution occurs whenever a believer is denied the protection of religious freedom, prevented from converting to Christianity because of legal or social threats, physically attacked or killed because of their faith, forced to leave their job or home because of the threat of violence, or imprisoned and interrogated for refusing to deny their faith.
Approximately 215 million Christians, in the Open Doors World Watch List Top 50 countries, experience high levels of persecution for their faith. They suffer interrogation, arrest and even death for their faith, with millions more facing discrimination and alienation. Open Doors is at work strengthening these believers in more than 60 countries worldwide.
The Ichthus Sign was used as a secret form of communication between the persecuted believers of the early Church in the Roman Catacombs. Often, they would scratch this Ichthus symbol on the ground to identify themselves to fellow believers. Open Doors’ specialised mission is to serve the persecuted Church worldwide. The Ichthus sign immediately makes the connection.
Barbwire represents people in prison or labour camps; people who have lost their freedom. We at Open Doors are called to serve brothers and sisters who are behind barbwire because they follow and serve the Lord Jesus Christ. The combination of the barbwire and the fish, twined together, makes this logo unique. It identifies the people we would like to serve, Christians (fish), it makes their lack of freedom (barbwire) clear.
Persecution has been a constant companion of the Church throughout the ages (Ichthus sign). The Rock is a biblical concept. The word ‘rock’ is often used figuratively in the Bible to speak of God and Christ. As Rock, God is the Creator, His people’s strength, His people’s defence and refuge and His people’s salvation. In the New Testament, Christ is the Rock from whom the Spirit of life flows, the foundation of the Church and its cornerstone.
The Carving in the Rock. To chisel a sign is not easy. This takes time and endurance. It is hard work. It reminds us of running the marathon. Following Christ is an enduring process which calls for perseverance.