Saturday, March 31, 2018

A new generation of outreach

It’s not always easy to recruit workers to serve as in-country missionaries in Denmark, and historically not in the eastern part of Sjaelland. But today that seems to be changing, with a new generation of believers who don’t hesitate to step out into the unknown.


Case in point: Thomas Kildeholm Jensen starts this summer as the new worker for family ministries in the Indre Mission. A former missionary to Tanzania, he’s 28, engaged to be married, and currently living far from his upcoming assignment.

And he’s excited about his new job.

“I’m passionate about ministry that’s all about mission, and interested in adventure,” said the 28-year-old.“And I can’t think of anything better than moving to a place I don’t know, meeting new people.”

He’ll be working in a key support role, encouraging church staffers around the eastern Sjælland region, working to strengthen family-related ministries, and also reaching out to new immigrants.

“In the Indre Mission we want to reach our entire country with the gospel,” said IM general secretary Jens Madsen, “not just those areas where we already have committed church folks. So there’s a need for mobility and a willingness to move.

“And in the past couple of years I’ve seen a good trend. I’m meeting people who show a willingness to move away from the familiar and out of their comfort zone. And I’m getting inquires from people who don’t have a long history with the Indre Mission, but who are turning toward IM and getting involved in our movement.”

PRAY for Thomas Jensen as he prepares for his new work, reaching out to families who may have no other contact with Christians.

PRAY that God would strengthen outreach ministries to families in Sjælland.

PRAY that immigrants would come to know Christ through the outreach of Thomas and the churches he will serve.

PRAY for even more workers to join Thomas in the renewal movement of Indre Mission.


PRAY for revival throughout eastern Sjælland.

Monday, February 19, 2018

It's Nudansk: Today's Danish Scriptures catch on

We’re seeing a surprising new interest in the Scriptures from ordinary Danes—partly as a result of a fresh translation into everyday Danish.


Dozens of volunteer focus groups all over the country (71 in all) are reading through drafts of Old Testament passages in the newly translated Bibelen på nudansk (The Bible in Contemporary Danish). The “Nu” in “Nudansk” means “now.” As portions of the Scriptures are prepared for release, the volunteers are giving honest feedback to the translation team on questions like, “Can we call Noah’s ark a boat?”

“We’re unbelievably happy about the great interest,” says Bible Society General Secretary Birgitte Stoklund Larsen. “It’s gone way beyond our expectations. We’re especially happy that the interest is coming from such diverse groups. So we’re getting response from college students, readers of literature, beginning and more seasoned Bible readers.”

But the readers may not all be who you might expect.

One grandmother, Charlotte Borup, described how she and her 14-year-old granddaughter Malou got involved in the review team.

“One day Malou came home and set a Bible on the kitchen table and said, ‘Grandma, I want to read the Bible, because I don’t know very much about it. That’s not so good, because I was just confirmed (in the Lutheran Church).’”

So the pair volunteered. As Malou explains, “When I was confirmed, I really didn’t know what I was saying yes to. Honestly I didn’t think about it until afterward. So now I want to spend some to read the Bible, understand what it says, and what we believe.”

An updated version of the New Testament has already been published and released, along with the Psalms and several other Old Testament books.

PRAY that God will guide and direct this new translation effort, and that God’s truth will shine through.

PRAY that the lives of focus group volunteers will be changed as they soak up God’s Word, and that revival will result. 

PRAY for the wisdom of the translation team, that they would remain faithful to the original texts as they updated them into the words Danes use today.

PRAY that Gods Word would spread in a new way throughout Denmark, from 14-year-olds and their grandmas, to schools and homes and beyond.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

They're facing the tough questions


How can a loving God allow suffering? Isn’t it intolerant to claim that Jesus is the only way to salvation? Why should your faith be more true than mine?

Since many Danes continue to ask those questions (and more!), Dr. Kurt Christensen and his team of theology students at the Center for Kristen Apologetik (Christian Apologetics) are prepared with reasoned, well-thought arguments from Scripture.



 

Through lectures, debates, and a strong web presence, they’re not afraid to face the typical questions, head-on. And they’ll engage with anyone who will listen—from students and professors in the Aarhus university environment, to people all over the country.  

The Center is part of the Lutheran School of Theology in Aarhus, an evangelical alternative university dedicated to the truth of Scripture and “classical Christian faith” as outlined in the historic church creeds and (more recently) in the Lausanne Covenant.

Dr. Kurt Christensen
Their continuing goal this year is to offer reasons to believe, introduce a faith that can be trusted, and offer a platform for serious discussions on Christian faith and worldview. They need our prayers. 

PRAY for Kurt Christensen in his leadership role, that he would be encouraged this year to pursue their mission with renewed optimism and faith. 

PRAY for Dr. Christensen’s young staff, Emil and Kristoffer, that they would find new ways to communicate the truth of Scripture in a skeptical society.

PRAY that God would bring in the funds needed to keep the self-sustaining center operating in the coming year.

PRAY that many would be shown the truth, that hearts would be softened, and that students and professors in Aarhus would come to know and follow the truth—Jesus himself.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Expanding the vineyard, times three

Vineyard fellowships in Denmark are on a church-planting spree, sending out families and starting three new churches in the past year—in Aarhus, Rønne (Bornholm Island), and Aalborg.

Thomas and Inge Willer
The new Aarhus Vineyard held their first worship service last spring, with 120 in attendance. Like the others, that group is an offshoot of the Vineyard in Copenhagen, which itself got its start in 1997. The new Vineyard fellowship is being planted by Anne and Simon Walsøe, along with others from their sending church.

During the summer, Assistant Pastor Helle Rønne Samuelson and his family (also from the Copenhagen church) moved to the island of Bornholm to help plant a Vineyard church there. That church is already well on its way and growing.

And if that wasn’t enough, Inge and Thomas Willer, formerly of the Regen Church in Copenhagen, recently moved their family to Denmark’s fourth-largest city (Aalborg) to plant a Vineyard church there.

“We love Regen,” says Thomas Willer, “which we started 13 years ago with a fantastic group of people. But in the course of the last year and a half to two years we’ve had the impression that there’s a new season coming for us as a family. We’re excited, nervous, a little concerned, sorry to leave church, family, and friends—but we’re also enthusiastic about the adventure that God is calling us to.”

Vineyard churches in Denmark have been on a growth spurt in the past five years, with six fellowships established beyond Copenhagen: in Roskilde, Rønne, Køge, Odense, Aarhus, and Aalborg. Membership across the country in these churches is about 1,000, with some 600 of those in Copenhagen.

Their emphasis on outreach and church planting continues.

PRAY for the leadership in these three new churches, that they would be open to God’s leadership, that they would remain in the truth, and that they would be encouraged daily.

PRAY for many Danes to come to faith and for spiritual growth in these churches.

PRAY for the Rønne Vineyard vision evening, planned for January 3, that people would hear of the dream for Bornholm, and that many would be inspired to join what God is doing there.


PRAY for revival to spread throughout Denmark as these (and other!) churches grow in their vision and multiply according to God’s plan.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Meeting God at the Café


They eat waffles. They play ping-pong. And they’ll be introduced to Jesus.

The decorations are up and snacks are on the table in the basement meeting room of a new Christian youth outreach in Aarhus, Denmark’s second-largest city. With the opening of the Crash Café last month, teens now have a place to hang out every other Friday evening and learn more about faith.

It’s staffed by volunteers and co-sponsored by Aarhus IMU (the youth ministry of the Indre Mission renewal movement) and Aarhus Bykirke (City Church). Rikke Lodberg Pedersen is one of the leaders.

“We have teen clubs in Aarhus,” she said, “but not a café. I hope it will be a relaxed place where everyone can feel welcome.”

In typical Danish fashion, there’s an emphasis on “hygge” at the new café, with wall murals, game tables, and furniture to give it a warm, cozy atmosphere. Ultimately it’s a place where teens with questions about life and faith can meet (slightly) older believers who are willing to share their lives.

“It’s going to be a café on their terms,” said Pedersen, “and they’ll be able to talk to us leaders and with each other about whatever is happening in their lives.”

Opening night was September 15, from 7 to 10 p.m.

PRAY for the success of this new youth outreach, that spiritual conversations would lead to changed lives.

PRAY for the leaders, that God would continue to draw dedicated volunteers who will model what following Jesus looks like.

PRAY for the resources needed to continue and expand this strategic outreach to teens. They may have no other contact with Christians in their city.

PRAY for revival to break out among teens who will come to know Christ through this café.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

A new Christian college


Last February, we prayed for students at some of the leading Christian colleges across Denmark—including those in Børkop, Kolding, and Mariager. Now there’s a serious movement to establish a Christian college in the Copenhagen area, and it needs our prayer support.

Hovedstadens Kristne Gymnasium (Capital City Christian College) is signing up students now, and hopes to offer its first classes by summer of 2018. Of course, there’s a lot to accomplish between now and then. Besides students, they’ll need facilities, faculty, administration, and more.

But schools like this one are crucial in a post-Christian society like Denmark. This will become an outpost where the Bible will be taken as God’s word, and where young believers can grow in their faith. 

HKGYM, as they’re calling it, will be a privately run, strategic training center for the Lord. We’ll update as more details develop. Meanwhile, they’re asking for prayer as they search for a rector—a key leadership position.

PRAY for the planning committee, for their vision and wisdom as they set up an exciting new program there.

PRAY for the right leader to be found, for a talented and godly rector.

PRAY that God will touch the hearts of students who will start next summer, and bring many more who need to know and grow in the Lord.

PRAY that God will bring revival in Denmark through the students, faculty, and staff at HKGYM!

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Worship musik finds a new home


For the past several years, God has been moving in the hearts of Danish Christian musicians, giving them a heart for worship as never before and bringing a lively new style of worship into churches across the land. But it hasn’t always been easy for believers to share their music ("musik" in Danish) from church to church.



Today that’s changing, with the help of a new online tool that gives Danish worship leaders much broader access to a growing body of contemporary Danish worship music. Even the smallest churches in the most remote villages can sing along.

Take a look at worshiptoday.dk and imagine you’re a small-town Danish volunteer worship leader, low on resources but full of God-breathed desire to glorify the Lord and share worship with your congregation.

Now you can quickly search for new songs to sing at your next service. Learn the history of the song, and who wrote it. Listen to the songs being performed. And with the right permissions in place, you can even print out song sheets and chords in a variety of keys.

Benjamin Hougaard, music leader for Denmark’s Indre Mission renewal ministry, unveiled the site last month. He envisions it as a support and time-saver for worship leaders across Denmark.

To be sure, the little country has always enjoyed a strong heritage of hymns and Christian music (Danes love to sing!), but this is an another encouraging step in a new direction. 

PRAISE God for this new way of sharing some of the best worship music in Denmark. 

PRAY for busy worship leaders in Denmark, especially for those in young and struggling fellowships where support and encouragement is needed. 

PRAY for the growth of worshiptoday.dk, that many more God-honoring songs would be added and made available to churches across the country. 

PRAY for revival across Denmark, that God would touch hearts through all kinds of music, and that the focus would be on Jesus—lifted up in new songs.