We often hear news reports of Christians being persecuted. There remain incidents around the world of churches being bombed, Christians being beheaded, imprisoned, or beaten, and families being broken up because of their faith in Christ. These events are so common now that they almost don’t even phase us anymore. For example, here are some startling stats when it comes to the persecuted church worldwide:
• More Christians were martyred in the 20th century than in all other centuries combined [christianity.com]
• Currently over 100 million Christians are being persecuted worldwide [Reuters, 2013]
Not only are cases of persecution so common that we are now no longer as shocked by them as we perhaps once were, but there is also another aspect that causes us to forget about the plight of many of our brothers and sisters in Christ. The problem is that this kind of extreme persecution seems so far away.
We read verses like 2 Timothy 3:12, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”, and we either think that the verse isn’t true or that “persecution” looks like us being ridiculed by our high school or college classmates for our faith. However, this isn’t persecution to the level that many of our brothers and sisters are facing on a daily basis. We can’t even wrap our minds around what it must be like to have to worship in secret for fear of your life, sit in a horrific prison for years on end, endure beatings regularly, or see a beloved family member murdered right in front of you. Yet that is the plight of many Christians around the world.
I believe it is incredibly important for us to be made aware of what is happening to our fellow Christians in other parts of the world, because they are our family and, as such, we need to be doing our utmost to care for them. As young women half a world away, however, it can seem impossible to make a difference in the lives of these beloved believers or to even know how we could start to help them.
The good news is that aiding the persecuted church does not have to be as difficult or seem as impossible as we often think. Here are four practical ways you can begin right now to serve the persecuted church worldwide:
This may not seem like the most practical way to help, but I assure you that it is the most important place to start. Definitely pray for God to be with the persecuted church, comforting, strengthening, and sustaining them in their hardship. Also pray for yourself, that you would have direction as to how you can best serve them. God’s heart is for His people, so you can rest assured that the Lord will give you guidance and practical ideas for ways you can help.
It’s so easy for us to become so busy with the interests of our own lives, that we go on largely uninformed as to the happenings in the world around us. Make it your aim to no longer lend a deaf ear to the plight of your fellow believer. Instead, become informed. Do your research. Pay attention to news reports. Have your eyes be opened to what is going on and how you can help.
Donate to Ministries Whose Aim is to Serve the Persecuted Church
The Voice of the Martyrs and Open Doors USA are two wonderful organizations dedicated to serving members of the persecuted church, both financially and otherwise. Become acquainted with these types of ministries and consider how you can get involved in their mission right where you are.
If you have been largely unaware of the heartache faced everyday by the persecuted church at large, chances are others in your circles are, as well. Make it your aim to spread the word. Become involved in events like David Platt’s Secret Church, and invite others to join you there. Spread the word, and thereby make a huge difference.
I know it can seem like an insurmountable feat to attempt to serve and make a difference for the persecuted church in your stage of life right now. But know that it is God’s desire that His people love and serve one another, and He will pave the way for you to do just that!