Persecution Exists Where The Gospel Is Being Shared
Since 1955, Open Doors has been strengthening Christians who are persecuted for their faith in Jesus. We partner with the local church in over 70 countries to help them advance the gospel in their nation even in the face of persecution.
Each year, Open Doors publishes the World Watch List, an indexed ranking of the top 50 countries where it’s most dangerous to be a Christian. The World Watch List shows us where persecution is on the rise, how God is at work and where the gospel is advancing.
245 million Christians are persecuted for their faith in the top 50 countries where it’s most dangerous to follow Jesus.
“Don’t be afraid when persecution comes to you. It’s part of the Christian life. It’s a privilege to be persecuted.” – Bahia*
When Bahia (22) and her mother came to faith, their community in India became aggressive. Bahia and other Christians refused to deny Jesus, and were violently thrown out of the village. Bahia went to Bible school to strengthen her faith so that one day she can return to her village with the gospel.
Why The World Watch List Matters
As a ministry, we work to strengthen the persecuted church to withstand persecution and continue sharing the gospel in their nation. We do this by coming alongside the local church, we find out what they’re doing in their community and ask how can we help.
The World Watch List helps us to see changes in persecution around the world. As the situation changes, we adapt and consider how we can best serve the persecuted church.
Where are Christians most persecuted?
Christians are persecuted all around the world. See our World Watch List to find out the top 50 countries where Christians are most persecuted.
What is the World Watch List?
The World Watch List ranks the top 50 countries where it’s most dangerous to be a Christian.
For each country, the list looks at the persecution Christians endure in their public and private lives.
How is the World Watch List measured?
We measure developing trends each year from 1 November – 31 October through on the ground interviews and data collection. We do this in over 70 countries to see where the global church is most under pressure, but also where God is most at work.
We distinguish two main types of persecution: violence and pressure.
Number of violent incidents in the reporting period.
Pressure is measured for Christians in five spheres of life: Private, Family, National, Church and Community.
Each country is scored from a detailed report on violent incidents and different spheres of pressure on Christians. These scores are then added up to a total score out of 100 to create the ranking.
What types of persecution do Christians face?
We use these eight broad categories to measure where persecution comes from:
Islamic Oppression - Any violent or non-violent action used to bring Christians under Islamic rule.
Religious Nationalism - Using the majority religion of a country (usually Hinduism and Buddhism, but also orthodox Judaism or other religions) to imply Christians do not qualify as citizens.
Ethnic Antagonism - Using cultural and tribal norms based on traditional religion to suggest Christians are outsiders.
Denominational Protectionism - To maintain one’s Christian denomination as the only legitimate expression of Christianity in the country.
Communist/Post-Communist Oppression - To monitor and control churches through a system of biased registration.
Secular Intolerance - To eradicate Christian expression from public life and impose an atheistic secularism.
Dictatorial Paranoia - Does everything to maintain power, including tearing down organised groups–like Christians.
Organised Corruption & Crime - To create a climate of anarchy and corruption as a means for self-enrichment. Christians will often speak out against this and become targets.
How many Christians are persecuted?
We estimate that in the top 50 countries alone, 245 million Christians face intimidation, prison, or even death for their faith in Jesus. One in nine Christians worldwide are persecuted for their faith.
What makes the World Watch List reliable?
For almost 30 years, Open Doors has produced the World Watch List.
The list is compiled by eight persecution analysts who focus on a particular region. Each are experts in their fields of study with postgraduate or doctoral qualifications.
The list is audited externally by the International Institute for Religious Freedom is accepted as the most authoritative list of it’s kind.