Is Open Doors affiliated with other organisations? Which ones?
Open Doors UK is a member of the Evangelical Alliance and a charter member of the ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability). We partner with the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) and the National Association of Evangelicals (NEA). Open Doors International is also affiliated with the Forum of Bible Agencies.
Where does Open Doors get its information from?
As a result of Open Doors' longstanding underground network, and our commitment to working with local Christians, the sources of our information are almost always based on direct eyewitness accounts from our contacts.
We have developed personal relationships with the churches we serve, and have often worked with the pastors of these congregations for years. This is partly why we are so careful to protect the identity of persecuted Christians and why we often cannot disclose the nature or location of the assistance we are providing in full detail.
In addition, we refer to news reports published in the countries where the events have taken place, and news services including World Watch Monitor News Service, which reports on Christian persecution exclusively.
How does Open Doors raise funds?
As a member of the Fundraising Standards Board, we operate with the highest fundraising principles. All money raised for Open Doors is donated through individuals, churches and charitable trusts.
We have a dedicated in-house staff team managing inbound and outbound telephone calls. We do not call supporters to ask for money.
Brother Andrew is the founder of Open Doors and an ordained minister in a very large Protestant/Evangelical denomination, but he does not pastor a church. Like John Wesley, "The world is his parish!" The name 'Brother' is not a title, nor is he a monk - he was first called 'Brother Andrew' by the persecuted church. When they asked him his name, he would say, "I am a brother of all those who love and follow Jesus Christ."
In 1955, he went on a group tour to Poland where he discovered a remnant church behind the Iron Curtain, desperately in need of the Word of God. He responded to God's call in Revelation 3:2 to "Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die," and began distributing suitcases full of Christian literature into Eastern Europe, marking the humble beginnings of Open Doors with Brother Andrew.
His autobiography, God's Smuggler, is an international bestseller and details his early experiences of dangerous border crossings, KGB pursuits, and Brother Andrew's courageous journey towards living radically for Jesus Christ.
In 1997, Brother Andrew was the recipient of the World Evangelical Fellowship's Religious Liberty Award, recognising his lifetime of service to the persecuted church and passion for spreading the gospel.
In 2022, Brother Andrew died, aged 94, surrounded by his family at home in the Netherlands.
How are you held accountable financially?
Open Doors is a registered charity with the Charity Commission (No. 1125684).
We produce an annual budget which is approved by our Board of Trustees and Open Doors International, and we report our progress to both groups monthly.
Our accounts are audited annually by an independent firm of auditors.
Our Annual Review and full audited accounts are available on request.
Why don't you just trust God to supply the needs? Why do you ask for help?
Over the years, we have been asked why Brother Andrew doesn't just pray and trust God to provide the funds as he did in God's Smuggler.
His simple response is that he does believe God will provide all that Open Doors needs to strengthen the persecuted. He lives his life trusting the Lord to meet his personal needs.
However, when it involves the needs of others, he does not hesitate to ask for help on their behalf. Open Doors doesn't feel there is anything wrong with asking other Christians to help their brothers and sisters living in restricted areas.
Throughout Scripture, we see examples of Christians asking for support from their fellow believers.
Paul asked for money to help those in need in 2 Corinthians 8:13-15, and King David asked for help to build the temple in 1 Chronicles 29:1-5 because all his wealth was not enough.
In Exodus 35:5 it was God Himself who instructed Moses to ask the Israelites for materials and labour to build the tabernacle, and to take an offering from "whosoever is of a willing heart".
What does Open Doors take to the churches you support?
It is our policy that the church determines the need, and together with them, we try to find answers to their needs.
Every country has different needs and every church has its own unique struggles. We are careful not to push our own agenda on the church.
If a church needs rebuilding, we help with that. If a pastor requests Bibles, we are quick to provide what we can. We have also helped with economic relief, rebuilding of destroyed churches and whatever else our brothers and sisters have requested.
Does Open Doors only support Christians?
The primary beneficiary group for the money raised by Open Doors supporters is persecuted Christians, especially those who deliberately overlooked by official relief channels. In some cases, we feel compelled or called to support non-Christians directly, but the vast majority of people who receive our aid are persecuted Christians. Indirectly, though, people of many faiths are supported.
Globally, Open Doors’ approach is to support the local church to serve its community because we believe the local church is God’s primary plan for restoring the nations. So the support we raise goes to local churches and church partners on the ground. Many of those churches are also reaching out to those of other faiths and helping them in times of crisis – for instance, a church in Sri Lanka shared crucial food and aid during Covid-19 with people who had recently persecuted them.
Our role is to respond to the requests of the local church and so equip her to be a light to the nations.
Which Bibles do you distribute?
Open Doors delivers standard (Protestant) Bibles. Most of the work Open Doors does takes place in non-English speaking countries, so the Bibles we distribute are most often in other languages. All of the translations are fully approved by the Bible Societies.
Our Bibles cost around £5 each, which includes delivery. The actual printing cost varies from country to country but we combine those figures and this is the worldwide average amount.
For some, the cost of delivering God's Word to other Christians has been a prison sentence or exile from their home and family. A few have lost their lives for distributing the Word of God in their respective countries.
What are your training programmes like?
Our training varies, depending on the country and depending on the need of Christians in that country.
For example, in several countries in Africa, we concentrate on building up church leaders, most of whom have little or no previous pastoral training. The training is done for one week each month, for 10 months.
The course is completed in three years, and is based on 2 Timothy 2:2, with the emphasis on faithful men who are able to teach others.
It is unique and valuable because it was developed locally, and students are not taken out of their community during their schooling. They stay in touch with their real world and apply teachings immediately.
Fellowship is possible between pastors and students, and tutors are also local residents who are in touch with the real needs of the students.
In some countries the difficulties are still very great, but the dedication of the students and teachers keeps the programme alive.
In countries where training must be absolutely secret, seminars are arranged for several days, and everyone stays in seclusion for the entire time. Again, these training courses and seminars vary according to the country, but we have taught on topics such as "The Faithful Pastor," "The Kingdom of God," "Christian Leadership," and "Preaching and Teaching."
One of our most powerful seminars is "Standing Strong Through the Storm". It seeks to teach Christians living in high-risk areas how to thrive under severe persecution and suffering.
What materials do you use to teach church leaders and new believers?
The study Bibles we deliver are designed to edify. They are doctrinally sound and much appreciated in places where Bible study "helps" are almost nonexistent. We believe that by providing study Bibles, we are strengthening new believers in their faith and furthering their understanding of and belief in the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Jesus said, 'Pray for your enemies. Love those that persecute you'. If you love your enemies, they're no longer your enemies, they become your friends.” Brother Andrew
Your support helps persecuted Christians continue to courageously follow Jesus.
Together, we can reach those where persecution hits hardest.