February 2021 Conversation


Welcome to February’s Conversation page. You can find everything you need for the February Lausanne Europe 20/21 Conversation right here. This month’s Impact Group looks at the issue of Freedom of Religion or Belief.

Depending on where you live in Europe, your experience of challenges to your own freedom of religion or belief will vary. The articles will give you different perspectives on this issue and we would encourage you to spend time praying together for Christians around the world who face persecution.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email us at conversation@lausanneeurope.org

And if you are just starting your Impact Group, or are confused about what they are about, then check out the introduction pages to the Conversation and Impact Groups to find out more.
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Freedom of Religion or Belief

To prepare for your Impact Group, we encourage you to look at the articles below. If you only have time to read one of the resources, we recommend you read the first article, Julia Doxat-Purser’s Introduction, which contains links to organisations and resources to help you go deeper if you wish.


Philippians is written in the context of severe persecution. And yet Paul still finds ways to enjoy God, to minister to Christians through writing his letters, and to share the good news of Jesus Christ. If you have not read through Philippians before as a group, please do so before you meet. Notice Paul’s joy, peace and confidence despite his imprisonment and the fact that execution could be coming at any point. Invite the Lord to help you consider honestly how you feel about suffering for your faith.

1. Introductions and Prayer

Begin with prayer but if there is someone new to the group, make sure everyone introduces themselves.

2. Scripture

Jesus calls his followers to take up their cross (Matthew 16: 24), He promises suffering (John 15: 20), and He asks us to love our enemies (Matthew 5: 44). When Paul urged his readers to pray for political authorities (1 Timothy 2: 1-4), those authorities were the Roman Empire, the brutal persecutors of Christians. Suffering is part of our faith but we are called to continue loving and praying. Some of us have lived our lives with hardly any difficulties caused by our beliefs but, if so, we have enjoyed an exceptional situation.
  1. What clues are there in Philippians to indicate how Paul maintained his hope, confidence, and zeal to practice his faith in the face of suffering?
  2. How can we apply Paul’s words to our situation in Europe today?
  3. And how can we encourage our brothers and sisters around the world who are suffering persecution?

3. Freedom of Religion or Belief | Close to Home

  1. What problems of freedom of religion are you aware of in your nation and what are the causes?
  2. Are these freedom of religion difficulties causing Christians to retreat in any way? What good responses to these challenges do you know of?
  3. Leach’s article reminds us that Daniel knew when to compromise and when to stand firm, risking his life as a result. When your faith clashes with the prevailing culture or rules, what might good or bad compromise look like, for example, for you in your working life or for your church’s plans?
  4. Mutzner gives theological reasons for saying Christians should defend the rights of all people to freedom of religion or belief. How do you feel about Christians defending the rights of other faiths and perhaps working with them to promote freedom of religion?

Prayer for Freedom of Religion or Belief | Close to Home

  • Pray for your government and the European Union to understand, value and defend freedom of religion or belief for their citizens and also for asylum seekers.
  • Pray for all advocacy efforts to strengthen freedom of religion or belief across Europe.
  • Pray for Christians in Europe to be so captivated by Christ that we can have Paul’s attitude of joy, peace, and zeal in the face of potential discrimination or even persecution.

4. Freedom of Religion or Belief | Around the World

You may already have known something about the persecuted Church and even supported one of the specialist ministries that care for our suffering brothers and sisters from around the world. If not, we hope that you took some time to look at the recommended websites as you prepared for this conversation.
  1. Are you aware of situations around the world where Christians are suffering severe persecution? What stories have you heard?
  2. What good advocacy efforts do you know of to defend our persecuted brothers and sisters and also those of other faiths who suffer?
  3. Share about any freedom of religion or belief organisation you support and why. Or share why you feel drawn to pray for a particular situation.

Prayer for Freedom of Religion or Belief | Around the World

  • Spend some time praying for the situations of persecution you feel drawn to pray for.
  • Pray for those who suffer, those who are the cause of the suffering and those who have the power to bring the suffering to an end.
  • Pray for all those ministries which advocate for and support the suffering Church.

5. Make Your Contribution to the Conversation

We really want to hear back from your Impact Group after each session. Please find a few minutes to summarise what you hear from God, the highlights of the discussion, and any questions that were raised, in the comments box immediately below. See you next month.