Open Doors USA New President: Biggest Challenge Is Helping American Church Understand Persecution Globally
SANTA ANA, Calif. – Open Doors USA announced Monday that Dr. David Curry has been appointed the new president and CEO of the international ministry that supports and strengthens persecuted Christians in some of the most dangerous countries in the world.
The organization's board of director's made the announcement after a search began last September when Carl Moeller stepped down from the office to take a new position as president and managing partner of a group aimed at fulfilling the global need for strategic alliances between international business and philanthropy. Curry has previously served as CEO of The Rescue Mission in Tacoma, Wash. He will begin his new duties at Open Doors USA on Aug. 1.
"The biggest challenge I think we are going to face is trying to get the American church to understand the scale and the magnitude of persecution around the world their brothers and sisters are facing today," Curry told The Christian Post. "We are so far removed, even with modern technology, from the kinds of punishment and persecution that people are facing in these countries like North Korea, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and so forth that I'm not sure we can get our minds around it.
"So, one of the tasks that Open Doors has in the next generation is to make sure that the American church knows and understands and is willing to support in any number of ways their brothers and sisters in Christ who do not worship in freedom, who worship the name of Jesus under the threat of death, and under the threat of punishment."
Curry adds that Christians need to understand "the concept of one body in unity as the body of Christ." His efforts with the ministry will include reaching out within the Christian community globally, he said.
"I'm going to be connecting with Christian leaders around the world so that they understand that they have a partner here at Open Doors USA, making sure they understand we can help in any way they need," Curry said.
Board chairperson Roger Spoelman said the process of finding someone to fill the position included an extensive search involving an impressive group of highly qualified candidates.
"During interviews board members were impressed with his spiritual maturity and leadership capability which he demonstrated in previous roles. He clearly has a passion for persecuted Christians around the world. The board is excited about the future of the ministry under the leadership of Dr. Curry," said Spoelman.
In a statement released by Open Doors, Curry said: "It's an honor to serve alongside those who stand for their faith against great opposition. Open Doors is doing incredibly important work to support and advocate for those persecuted for their faith.
"For many years I have been troubled and concerned about the increasing persecution Christians have faced for their faith, and the neglect by some governments to take a stand. While I've always been an advocate for the persecuted church, it's my belief that the next generation will see even greater persecution. As a result, we need a deeper awareness to support and advocate for those who face prison or even death for their faith in Jesus Christ."
According to Curry, his vision includes "continuing to increase Open Doors' effectiveness in serving persecuted believers. In addition, Open Doors USA will be striving to communicate to people in the United States the challenges Christians face around the world in order to live their faith in freedom."
Curry adds that his eight years as CEO at The Rescue Mission and his position as president of the Foundation for Grace, an organization that provided leadership and management training to non-profit groups in South America, will serve him well in his Open Doors presidency.
"My whole life and calling have been about serving those who are suffering, living in despair and who are placed in really challenging circumstances," he states. "Serving with the Foundation for Grace placed me in the position of service to impoverished pastors in the Third World; assisting, training and supporting them in their important work. Serving the homeless and hurting further deepened my resolve that God's love extends to everyone, and that everyone should have the ability to experience and grow in their spiritual journey regardless of socio-economic strata, ethnicity or nationality. These are all parts of my experiences that I will bring to my ministry at Open Doors in assisting those who desire to serve Jesus in freedom."
Curry is an expert on the subject of ethical leadership and life transformation and has addressed such diverse groups as Fortune 500 company AT&T, the Congress of Peru, drug-recovery programs and social workers in the Amazon jungle. He is the author of four books, including his new book First Aid for Enablers. His other books are It's Not How Far You Fall It's How High You Bounce, God Plays Golf and Change Your World!
Curry has a B.A. from Northwest University (Seattle) and an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Faith Evangelical College and Seminary (Tacoma).