How Langham trains pastors where Christians face persecution

Because of Christian persecution in the countries mentioned in this article, names of people and places have been changed or omitted to protect their identity.

As the global church has grown, so has persecution. At least 312 million Christians suffer extreme discrimination and pressure around the world, according to the World Watch List compiled by the organization Open Doors. 

Walking with God in this context comes at a cost. Believers face threats of violence, imprisonment, job discrimination and more because of their decision to follow Jesus.

READ MORE: How the Africa Bible Commentary changes lives

Langham Partnership works with churches in these countries to make sure believers have pastors who can encourage and strengthen them with faithful, relevant teaching of God’s Word. We train pastors in 20 of the top 50 countries where Christians face persecution, with more starting this year.

Here’s a snapshot of that work from two of these countries.

South Asia

At least 300 churches have burned down since May of last year in this South Asian country. Intolerance for religious minorities is growing swiftly, and violence against Christians is becoming more and more common.

In one area, a leader who coordinates Langham’s preaching seminars faces open threats and often goes into hiding. In another region, ministry leaders are constantly monitored, and their work can only operate by word of mouth. And in yet another area, a Langham coordinator was severely beaten the night before a training seminar.


And yet, God is making a way. The coordinator who was attacked was miraculously rescued, and the training took place. He and his wife led another seminar where 70 church leaders from an area infected with violent fanaticism strengthened their foundation in the Word. Most of these church leaders are first generation Christians without any formal training. These preachers walked away refreshed, equipped and inspired to begin studying scripture deeply. And now they meet faithfully every month in small groups to practice what they learned.

Persecution of Christians has not stopped people from coming to Jesus, and these leaders sense an urgency to equip as many as they can to teach God’s Word clearly, faithfully and relevantly before the situation gets worse.

West Africa

Kidnappings and attacks targeting Christian communities escalated last year in part of this West African country ruled by Islamic law. Pastors lost their lives or, in some cases, their entire families. Violence has displaced and disrupted whole congregations.

This heartbreaking reality is having a profound impact on ministry there. But despite this, thousands of pastors still attended Langham’s preaching training last year. They are hungry to learn how to preach God’s Word faithfully and relevantly in this difficult context.

After attending a training, one pastor said, “I have experienced a significant change in my life. Previously, I used to read my Bible with limited understanding. However, having undergone this training, my knowledge of the Word of God has increased fivefold.”

It makes a difference as people struggle to persevere in the midst of such darkness.

“Some do abandon their faith to seek protection through ancestral worship or deeply question the goodness of God,” said Chukwuemeka Egbo, associate director for Langham’s preaching programs in Africa. “In these trying moments, many of our Langham Preaching trained pastors have had the advantage of sustaining the faith of their members through expounding the Scripture with such faithfulness, sensitivity, and relevance that the congregation is both encouraged and built up in their faith.”