Episode 015

Midwest Leadership Summit, Christian Persecution, & Civil Rights in America

Jan 21, 2022

Nearly 1,000 church leaders from the Midwest convened in Illinois for the Midwest Leadership Summit this week. Open Doors has released its annual list of the top 50 countries where Christians face the greatest amounts of persecution. And Chris Turner made a recent trip to Selma, Alabama, to walk the Pettus Bridge where a group of civil rights activists began their 51-mile trek to the state capitol of Montgomery in 1965.

Transcript

As nearly 1,000 church leaders from the Midwest convened in Illinois for the Midwest Leadership Summit, Southern Baptist Convention President Ed Litton saluted organizers and those in attendance for the unique regional event. He also praised Disaster Relief volunteers, citing the example of Michigan teams working in Colorado after wildfires destroyed almost 1,000 homes and structures. “At our best, we are brothers and sisters in Christ, working together to spread the Gospel,” he said. Unity was an underlying theme in Litton’s brief comments.

Kirk Kirkland, planter and pastor of Revive City Church in Cincinnati, also spoke at the event. He told of ministry among homeless and addicted people—and seeing God at work.He said this type of ministry is hard, but he’s seen the gospel break through the hardest of soil. He encouraged the leaders to remember that God can give them the grit they need to persevere.

Open Doors, a ministry aimed at helping and shining light on Christians living in persecution, has released their annual list of the top 50 countries where Christians face the greatest amounts of persecution. Afghanistan is at the top of the list. The ministry says the Taliban take over of the country in 2021 led to many Christians being driven out of the country or hunted down and killed.

The other countries in the top five are North Korea, Somalia, Libya and Yemen. North Korea held the top spot for 20 years prior to this year.

Globally, Open Doors counts 312 million highly persecuted Christians or 1 in 7 people. Open Doors tallied 5,110 churches or Christian buildings attacked, 4,765 Christians detained for their faith and 3,829 Christians abducted for faith-related reasons.

Nigeria, is up to seventh on the 50-nation list. It remains the most violent place in the world for Christians. Of the 5,898 Christians killed for their faith in the one-year study period, 79 percent were killed in Nigeria, Open Doors said.

China, ranked 17, has continued to use surveillance technology to persecute Christians, with the ability to severely harm the livelihood of Christians without the believers ever leaving their homes.
Good News for Today is made possible through our friends at The Voice of the Martyrs, a nonprofit organization that serves persecuted Christians around the world. Founded in 1967 by Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand, VOM is dedicated to inspiring believers to deepen their commitment to Christ and to fulfill His Great Commission — no matter the cost. Find out more and sign up for their free monthly magazine at vom.org/goodnews.

Chris Turner, the communications director for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, made a recent trip to Selma, Alabama to walk the Pettus Bridge where a group of civil rights activists began their 51-mile trek to the state capitol of Montgomery in 1965. As the group began their journey, police violently trying to stop them.

In a piece on Baptist Press, Turner talks about how the visit impacted him and a conversation with a man who was on the bridge that day.

He says people must be intentional to talk to one another to help achieve healing in America today.

Find stories like this and more at Baptist Press.com. Thanks for listening to Good News for Today from Baptist Press.

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