Sunday, October 07, 2018

Cold storage? Not any more!

Things are warming up in the small town of Skjern (western Denmark), where believers have turned a cold storage facility into a beautiful new multi-purpose worship center. Late last month, much of the town and well-wishers from surrounding cities crammed into the new 600-seat sanctuary at the Skjern Bykirke (City Church) to celebrate.

During opening ceremonies September 23, Copenhagen-area pastor Niels Jørn Fogh complemented the growing independent Lutheran congregation for their vision.

“But I don’t think this church center is just an expression of your West Jylland pioneering spirit and building skills,” he told them. “It’s also an expression of how the Holy Spirit leads, works, and encourages.”

The building now hardly resembles the former Danish Crown meat packing center. Besides opening up a large space for worship, the new church facility also includes plenty of room for youth, offices, and a café. Skilled and unskilled volunteers provided much of the needed labor.

“We believe it’s going to be a place where more people in Skjern can meet Jesus,” said congregation president Jan Christiansen. “We’re really praying for that. That more people will meet Jesus through us.”

Skjern Bykirke was established in 2006, and is part of the Evangelical Lutheran free congregations. It currently includes 430 members, but that number will be growing!

PRAISE GOD for this new facility, and for the impact this church will have on a small community.

PRAY for the leadership at Skjern Bykirke, for wisdom as they follow what God is doing there.

PRAY with this congregation that more people will come to know Jesus in Skjern and the surrounding countryside.

PRAY that this entrepreneurial example will encourage other believers throughout Denmark to step out where the Spirit of God leads.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Class is in session!

Last September we prayed for the newest Christian college in Denmark, Hovedstadens Kristne Gymnasium, or HKGYM. At the time it was still a dream, however, and a year away from opening. Who knew what would happen?

This month the strategically located school (it’s in the Vanløse neighborhood of Copenhagen) has been dedicated, classes are open, and instructors are in place. And a new rector, Sigbjørn Sørensen, is excited about the doors God is opening for them in the coming year.

“The first school year is going to be a year of learning together for everyone,” he says.

Now 20 or more young, excited Danes are preparing for lifetimes of service in the second-floor facility, with faith-based studies in everything from design and technology to media and Christian studies. There’s even a study tour planned to the United States.

Here’s a look at the first students, in their new school. Even if you don’t understand their Danish, their excitement is obvious. (And they have a great view of the city!)

In a secular society like Denmark’s, this new opportunity to study under Christian educators, in an environment where Christian faith is supported and encouraged, is huge. These students and educators need our prayers:

PRAY for the first group of students, that God would honor this step of faith and that they would grow as believers.

PRAY for students who may not yet know Christ, that their lives would be transformed.

PRAY that even more students and instructors would be added, that this school would thrive and grow.

PRAY for the instructors, that they would faithfully guide their students and model Christian lifestyles.

PRAY for Rector Sigbjørn Sørensen and the HKGYM leadership, for godly wisdom in this first year and beyond.

THANK God for moving in the lives of young Danes at HKGYM.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Out of their box

Pray for the believers in Copenhagen’s largest Pentecostal church, Kirken i Kulturcentret (The Church in the Culture Center) as they embark on a bold new plan to train their young people and reach out in the nation’s capital.

“We’re done with being boxed in,” lead pastor Jarle Tangstad told the congregation last month. “We’re done with being segregated. We’re done with just being ourselves. The power of God’s Kingdom is way beyond that.”

Watch his announcement here. (English translation included.)

During the congregational announcement, Pastor Tangstad laid out a wide-ranging plan to bring together everyone in the congregation into one worship time, strengthen systematic biblical training for young people, and re-emphasize small groups to help cross ethnic and language barriers.

The ethnically diverse, urban church will also place a new emphasis on their evangelization and social outreach in the city.

“I dream of the day when the police will tell us that we’ve made a difference,” he told the crowd, drawing extended applause.

Pastor Tangstad said the scope of this new phase of training and outreach rivals anything they’ve experienced before, even comparing it to the original vision for Kirken i Kulturcentret. Their church was created in 1999 with the consolidation of four smaller congregations. Today the Norwegian-born Pastor Tangstad is calling for new vision, energy, and trust as they move ahead.

So this fall, children will participate in what they call “Creative Lab,” while parents will begin their Sundays with Bible school, followed by a bilingual (Danish and English) worship service, with options for translation into up to eight different languages — including Thai, Spanish, Russian, and Arabic. A related Philippine congregation may continue meeting separately. A meal for all will follow.

“We want to be a lighthouse for children and young people in this city,” said the pastor. “Reaching across language, background, culture, outlook, and anything else. We want to take the gospel in a practical way out on the streets so people see that this is how the gospel works.”

PRAY for the believers in Kirken i Kulturcentret, that they will catch a God-given vision to strengthen their young people and reach out to the community.

PRAY for the resources they will need to expand and grow.

PRAY for protection of Christians in Copenhagen as they reach across boundaries with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

PRAY for Jarle Tangstad and his leadership team, that God will protect them and continue to give them a unity of vision.

PRAY for many more to be introduced to Jesus through this church, and this strengthened outreach.

Friday, June 01, 2018

Where are the workers?

“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:37-38)

What was true then is just as true today in Denmark. The laborers are few.

But the good news is that the Indre Mission renewal movement finds itself in a surprising situation this year: With a healthy budget, they’re looking to hire at least ten new outreach workers to fill and strengthen ministries around the country.

A new missionary for senior outreach in Aarhus, Denmark’s second-largest city. A family outreach worker in Løgstør. A youth worker on the remote island of Bornholm, and an outreach worker to refugees and immigrants in the capital. They need evangelists, a video specialist, and a Sunday school worker.

The positions are open. The budget is in place. All they need are the workers.

In each case, the mission seeks to work with local churches and jump-start the kind of outreach, evangelism, and discipleship that takes concerted, daily effort. There are plenty of challenges. But…

“We’re happy that we can be calling for more co-workers,” says Jens Medom Madsen, the general secretary of the movement. “We’re in the happy position of having a strengthened economy, so we can both re-fill previous positions and expand the number of positions.”

So PRAY that the Lord of the harvest would now bring just the right workers to these open positions, and that nothing would prevent them from hearing and responding to the call.

PRAY that the Holy Spirit would prepare the hearts of those workers and burden them with a heart for this outreach.

PRAY that God would continue to bless the Indre Mission financially, and that more workers would be added this year and in years to come.

PRAY that God would make a way for the new workers to build bridges and work well with local churches of all kinds.

And PRAY that God would draw many people of all ages to himself through these ministries—children and their parents, teens and families, immigrants, workers and professionals, atheists and doubters, seekers and foreigners, seniors and juniors, failures and successes, church-goers and Danes of all kinds… so that everyone in this beautiful little country would come to know that God is on the move in Denmark!