Our European Strategy Begins In Germany

            There are places where we have begun laying out our strategy for Europe as a Continent.  There is no need to do that again here.  Now, it is time to share why Germany is such an integral part of our strategy.

             As one of the most vibrant economies in the world, Germany is an economic leader in Europe.  Furthermore, Germany has long led Europe on religious freedom issues.  After all, it was the Germans who brought us the Reformation. 

             Equally true, Germany has led Europe down dark paths in the past.  We do not need to enumerate those paths here for that is not the purpose.  The purpose is to understand that Germany is a powerful place, both in the natural world and in the supernatural world.

             Since this is true, we have to recognize that we must target Germany for spiritual help.  This help comes in a variety of forms, but must have a spiritual element to it.  We have to work to protect the rights that already exist in Germany.  We must work to bring a spiritual revival to Germany.  A revival that is strong enough to catapult the Church throughout the Continent and beyond.

             There are actions we can take now that will help bring this change.

             There are actions we can take that will keep the door open for the proclamation of the Gospel in Germany.

             At the IHRG we are committed to working to see that pastors, missionaries, and their organizations are free to proclaim their Christian message without fear in Germany and Europe.  We are currently standing with a number of leaders to see that the door is kept open for the proclamation of the Gospel.  That is our task.  It is our purpose!  Our commitment is unwavering in this matter.

             We cannot only fight the battles we know we can win.  We have to fight the battles that matter.  We know that the battle is the Lord’s.  We are only called to fight, the outcome is determined by one greater than us.

             How do we go about keeping the door open for the proclamation of the Gospel in Germany?  There are a number of actions we can take.  We are taking them now and we will continue to take them as we move forward.

 Protecting religious liberties in key cases:  First we must continue to protect religious liberties in key cases in Germany.  This means that we will represent clients like a nondenominational church in Cologne, Germany whose pastors were falsely accused of tax evasion, the Plett and Pauls families who are fighting at the European Court of Human Rights for the right to determine the education of their children, the Robinson family who are Americans being denied a residence visa in Germany because they are homeschooling, and battling a new federal law that makes it easier for German government officials to take children from their parents.

 Public awareness to persecution and discrimination issues in Germany and Europe:  In addition to the legal battle, we must also continue to bring public awareness to the west through the media, particularly Christian media so that Christians in America and around the world can knowledgeably pray for their brothers and sisters suffering persecution in Germany.  While this might seem like a minor piece of the puzzle it is actually one of the most important factors.  Ignorance and silence are letting the secular leaders of Germany and Europe persecute and discriminate against Christians without recourse.

 Provide support for pastors[1] and missionaries: Another important component of our strategy is to work with pastors and missionaries to provide support in their ministries.  Many of these men and women have a great calling, but little knowledge in critical matters like the legal operations of religious institutions in Germany.  We have represented churches that have had problems because they were not properly organized based on the laws of the host country.  Many of these pastors simple assume the laws are the same and they set up their corporate structure according to American standards.  We are helping ministries function according to proper governing principles within the guidelines of European regulations.

 Visa help:  We will continue to do everything we can to raise awareness in the States of the proper procedure for missionaries to immigrate to Germany.  Some of the problems we are currently seeing are problems of improperly filing documents through a lack of understanding of the system.  Immigration is a complicated area of the law and many missionaries in Europe and in America preparing to go to Germany need help preparing the proper documentation.

 Provide support and training for Christian lawyers:  We currently work with a number of Christian lawyers in Germany.  As we identify them we will work with a larger group and help them understand how to use the law to protect religious freedom throughout Germany.  Part of the benefit of our relationship is to help these attorneys better understand the approach used by the Christian legal community in America to bring change through the use of the courts and the media.  We are able to coach and educate lawyers and then help them formulate key winning arguments in strategic cases in Germany.  We also help them understand the value of standing firm in the face of opposition, including the loss of cases where they need to continue to fight rather than giving up.  In the past, Christians in these socialist democracies have not understood how to challenge their government’s programs properly.  We spend a lot of time working with them on the value of properly administrated civil disobedience.

 Work to bring positive pressure on the political systems, country by country and European Union wide:  We also work within the political system to bring change.  Sometimes this takes the form of private negotiations with political leaders in local, national, or international Parliaments.  These negotiations include bypassing the penalties imposed by wayward government officials, including keeping homeschooled children from being taken away from their parents by the Youth Welfare Office and having fines waived when they have been improperly levied against Christian for matters of religious freedom.  We also work with legislatures to oppose laws or to support laws that affect religious liberties within Europe.  This work is intentionally broader than Germany because the nature of the European Union is that the larger bodies have greater effect on the local governments.

 Encouraging and empowering our clients:  Like any legal organization we spend a lot of time encouraging and empowering our clients.  Germany is hard on Christians, both native Europeans and foreigners alike.  We work with our clients to make sure they understand not only how the law effects them personally, but also how our work and their case effects the bigger picture of bringing change to Germany.  We also use our media contacts to encourage them that Christians around the world and particularly in America know what is happening to them and are praying for them.

 Planting churches and supporting networks of churches:  Our newest strategic initiative is the planting of churches in key cities within the Germany.  Until now we have worked on the triage areas of European religious liberties.  Now, we are committing time, energy, and resources to working on the problem at its root.  This means planting life-giving churches that will bring change to the heart and spiritual core of Europe, thus resolving some of the religious oppression that occurs in Europe.  To do this we have already begun to work with locals and with Americans to determine what are strategic cities within Germany, provide support for the churches and the teams that come to plant the churches, help them properly enter the country and set up their ministries legally, and other issues that are involved in planting a new work anywhere.  Additionally, we provide emotion and spiritual support to these churches through personal oversight and guidance, providing them with a network of help rather than leaving them alone to find their way.  Ultimately this will also include connecting these churches within Europe so that there is a local support network in addition to the international network.

             We will also work so that the second generation of churches planted in Europe is actually European churches with local pastors rather than American churches.

             We believe that this strategy, though time consuming, is the tested method for protecting religious freedom in America.  It has also worked to keep open avenues for the proclamation of the Gospel and helped to change the spiritual climate in America.

             There will be some adaptation needed as we continue to work in Germany.  There will need to be changes from north to south—even from the Catholic to the Luther areas of Germany.  We are prepared to adapt, learn, and change as the cultural situation calls for change while remaining true to the essentials of the Christian message and helping the helpless find justice.


[1] We have a domestic church rights project that provides legal advice, protects churches and pastors, provides advice on media campaigns, and a variety of other helps that is available to pastors in Europe.


1 Response to “Our European Strategy Begins In Germany”

  1. 1 the one 29 May 2008 at 2:27 am

    Bravo ol chap, for you are doing a great work! Had a great time tonight!

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Books Worth Reading

C.S. LEWIS--Mere Christianity; CLAIRE BERLINSKI--Menace in Europe: Why the Continent's Crisis is America's Crisis, Too; BRUCE BAWER--While Europe Slept: How Radical islam is Destroying the West from Within; DAVID LEVERING LEWIS--God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215; THOMAS SCHIRRMACHER--The Persecution of Christians Concerns Us All; PHILIP JENKINS--God's Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe's Religious Crisis

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