Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.
Founded in 1968, Release International is a UK-based Christian ministry, supporting believers around the world who are persecuted for Christ and the gospel.
We were inspired by the life and witness of Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, who spent 14 years in communist prisons. His remarkable story was captured in his book, Tortured for Christ.
The words of this biblical command are an important basis for our work:
‘Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated, as if you yourselves were suffering.’ (Hebrews 13:3; NIV; 2011)
We are currently active in around 30 countries where we prayerfully, pastorally and practically do all we can to love and serve persecuted Christians.
OneWe raise the VOICE of persecuted Christians
We want Christians and churches in the UK and Ireland to hear the stories of persecution – from persecuted Christians. Our free quarterly magazine, Voice, informs and encourages Christians to pray for real people, in real places, who are suffering for Christ. We provide speakers for churches, we produce a monthly podcast and we have a presence at a number of key Christian events throughout the year. In these and other ways we seek to bring to the UK the stories of persecution.
TwoWe give persecuted Christians the 'TOOLS' they need to live for Jesus Christ
The needs of persecuted Christians will vary. In some places it might be Bibles or other Christian resources. Elsewhere it might be leadership training. In yet other places it might be desperately needed supplies of food and clothing, or on-going care for the families of martyrs.
ThreeWe bring you into FELLOWSHIP with persecuted Christians
Ultimately there is one body of Christ, the Church. Christians who suffer persecution around the world are our brothers and sisters in Christ, with whom we see ourselves as having real fellowship. Therefore we describe ourselves as a ministry from the body of Christ, to the body of Christ.
FourWe help you learn DISCIPLESHIP with persecuted Christians
Persecution is a prominent theme in the New Testament. Jesus taught his disciples that if the world hated him, it would hate them too (see John 15:18-21). The Apostle Paul taught new Christians to understand persecution biblically (see, for example, Acts 14:21,22; 1 Thessalonians 3:1-4). The Apostle Peter said Christians should not be surprised when the world persecutes the church of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 4:12-14). Persecuted Christians, by the grace of God, so often display a real Christ-likeness in response to the world’s hatred. We recognise that we can learn lessons of Christian discipleship with them and from them.
FiveWe maintain Christian STEWARDSHIP to honour persecuted Christians
As Christians, everything we have is from God: our time, our gifts and abilities, our finances. We are to use what God has given us in service of Christ’s kingdom and for God’s glory. As a ministry we seek to be biblical in all we do. We encourage people not only to support us, but to serve with us as volunteers in a variety of roles.
‘I tremble because of the sufferings of those persecuted in different lands. I tremble thinking about the eternal destiny of their torturers. I tremble for Western Christians who don’t help their persecuted brethren. In the depth of my heart, I would like to keep the beauty of my own vineyard and not be involved in such a huge fight. I would like so much to be somewhere in quietness and rest. But it is not possible… The quietness and rest for which I long would be an escape from reality and dangerous for my soul… The West sleeps and must be awakened to see the plight of the captive nations.’
RICHARD WURMBRAND, TORTURED FOR CHRIST.