New Program Raises Awareness of Persecution

Church leaders and others can inspire their congregations to pray with passion and conviction for the world’s persecuted Christians through a new program run by a Chicago-based ministry that works in more than 50 countries.

Through its new program, “If God be for us …,” the Bible League aims to continue its effort to raise awareness of persecution and provide God’s Word to persecuted Christians.

“The premise of the program is: Persecution is difficult, persecution is extreme, yet not even death can separate us from the love of Christ,” said Connie Reitsma, coordinator of the Bible League’s Persecuted Church program. "But God is ultimately in control, and the Bible is the connection to His love.”

Since the Bible League’s annual Persecuted Church program began in 2000, compassionate Christians in the United States and six other countries with Bible League offices have raised more than $1.1 million to provide Scriptures.

Each year, the Bible League has offered programs tailored around a different theme or aspect of persecution. This year’s was designed with several components, including a 21-day devotional booklet, a Bible bank for offerings, a bulletin insert, a video, an interactive web site—plus a sheet with 21 suggested activities for all ages that can be used by families or youth groups.

“We hope that peoples’ hearts will be moved to send help to persecuted believers through God’s Word,” Reitsma said. “And we hope that churches will plan now to take part in this very special program.”

The program, which is now available, can be used in conjunction with this year’s annual International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church “or really anything that churches are doing that involve missions,” according to Reitsma.

The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) – a global day of intercession for persecuted Christians worldwide – will be held this year on Sunday, Nov. 13, and will encourage intercessory prayer and citizen action on behalf of persecuted communities of the Christian faith.

According to Open Doors, which ranks 50 nations where Christians are persecuted for their faith, there are an estimated 200 million Christians worldwide who suffer interrogation, arrest and even death for their faith in Christ, with another 200 to 400 million facing discrimination and alienation.

Groups that are actively serving the persecuted Church and partnering for IDOP include Christian Freedom International, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Christians in Crisis, Gospel for Asia, International Christian Concern, Iranian Christians International, Jubilee Campaign, Open Doors, The Voice of the Martyrs, and the World Evangelical Alliance.