The US affiliate of Open Doorways has departed one of many largest world networks devoted to supporting persecuted Christians.

Open Doorways USA started 2023 by saying its transformation into World Christian Reduction (GCR), retaining its board, employees, CEO, and sizable social media accounts beneath a brand new model.

To take action, GCR reduce its longstanding ties with Open Doorways Worldwide (ODI), the worldwide umbrella group which produces detailed annual studies on the persecuted church, coordinates two dozen nationwide associates, and maintains a 65-year-old community of Christian leaders on the frontlines in 70 nations. On the similar time, ODI began a brand new US arm known as Open Doorways US, with a longtime Open Doorways UK chief, Lisa Pearce, as its new CEO.

Anne van der Bijl, a Dutch evangelical identified to Christians worldwide as Brother Andrew, based Open Doorways in 1955 to attract consideration to the persecuted church and to offer it tangible help, most famously by distributing Bibles. He died final 12 months at age 94.

Open Doorways USA was all the time a separate group affiliated with the worldwide group. The 2 ministries are roughly the identical measurement financially of their US tax filings, every reporting about $30 million in contributions in 2019 and 2020. Open Doorways Worldwide is affiliated with two dozen different country-based Open Doorways organizations world wide which have their very own income.

The current change and communication was confusing to some supporters. And the 2 organizations don’t seem to agree on the narratives of what has occurred.

A pop-up on GCR’s web site says, “Open Doorways USA is now World Christian Reduction.” In the meantime, the brand new Open Doorways US has an FAQ on its new web site that claims, “Has Open Doorways modified its identify within the US? No—Open Doorways continues within the US beneath CEO Lisa Pearce, following the departure of former CEO David Curry.”

Curry, who served as CEO of Open Doorways USA since 2013 and now leads GCR, mentioned in an announcement that beginning in June 2022, the management of OD USA and ODI “entered a interval of dialogue and prayerful discernment about their future relationship.” The boards of each organizations agreed to disaffiliate, he mentioned.

Curry didn’t get into particular causes for the break, however instructed CT, “It was a joint dialogue. There may be monumental respect—Brother Andrew was my mentor and good friend.” He added about Open Doorways Worldwide’s work on the persecuted church: “No person does it higher.”

The worldwide group additionally didn’t supply a purpose for the parting of how. Pearce, the brand new Open Doorways US CEO, mentioned in an announcement to CT, “The US is certainly one of 24 nations the place we now have established nationwide bases to mobilize prayer and lift consciousness and help for Open Doorways’ world work strengthening persecuted Christians. Open Doorways will proceed this work within the US for our many crucial area initiatives, together with via the launch of the 2023 World Watch Listing on January 18th.”

Pearce famous that Open Doorways’ work depends on area groups in 70 nations within the underground church, lots of whom are persecuted themselves.

“Reference to persecuted Christians is a blessing to the broader church,” she mentioned. “There are 360 million persecuted Christians on the earth at present, and for his or her sake we hope and pray that each ministry finds efficient methods to serve them.”

Spiritual freedom advocates working with Open Doorways hadn’t heard {that a} change was imminent. OD USA has lengthy completed advocacy in Washington, DC, partaking with the US State Division and different entities. Curry was appointed as a commissioner on the US Fee on Worldwide Spiritual Freedom (USCIRF) in Might 2022, shortly earlier than the 2 boards started discussing a break of their relationship.

Curry instructed CT that there are a small variety of worldwide non secular freedom advocates within the US, so he doesn’t see GCR competing with Open Doorways. He hoped that the creation of extra organizations would create an additional community of on-the-ground assets for persecuted Christians and “a number of methods to help the church so they’re by no means remoted.”

In response to a query about how GCR’s mission is perhaps completely different from the work of Open Doorways, he talked about adapting the group to new challenges, like governments monitoring Christians and church companies with new expertise.

“Whenever you take a look at China’s capacity to watch Zoom church, social connection, facial recognition … we’ve received to crowdsource with the neatest minds on the market,” he mentioned. “That is changing into a technological problem as a lot as a censorship concern.”

And he mentioned he needs his group to develop the Western church’s involvement within the persecuted church globally, given the necessity.

“We have now a handful of ministries—we’d like a thousand,” Curry mentioned.