Monday, July 13, 2020

Not your usual summer camp!

One of Denmark’s largest Christian family camps is happening this week – only not quite as usual. For reasons that need no explaining, SommerOase (Summer Oasis) is moving ahead in an online format this year.

Usually, hundreds of families gather this week under tents to enjoy speakers, singing, kids’ activities, fun, and spiritual renewal. Danes of all ages are challenged in their walk with the Lord, families are strengthened, and lives are changed. It’s a highlight of the summer, if not the year. Many families return for the event, year after year.

This year, July 12 through 15, the speakers are similar. The music is similar. The kids’ fun activities sound similar.

But surely it is not the same. Live feeds invite listeners to tune in for evening meetings and concerts. Seminar speakers bring messages from the Scriptures about world missions, or how to grow as believers in a changing world. Kids tune in to social media-based activities they can do with their families at home.

The overall theme is “What is God’s Spirit Saying?”

“We’re experiencing an exceptional time of crisis in our land,” said Ruben Dalsgaard, general secretary for DanskOase, the event’s organizer. “But when the ground is shaking beneath our feet, there is one who stands fast, and His kingdom is near in a special way for the powerless and vulnerable. Where is God’s Spirit taking us? (This week) we want to stop together, reflect, pray, and ask God: What is your Spirit saying to us?”

It’s an excellent question.

PRAY for the impact of SommerOase this year, that God may touch even more lives this year. After all, who knows how many can now join the event, online?

PRAY for open hearts all over Denmark to hear God’s Spirit, and respond.

PRAY for the speakers and activity leaders, for God’s anointing and wisdom as they share their hearts.

PRAY for the youth leaders, that God would give them enthusiasm and joy as they lead activities online.

PRAY that the impact of this summer event would continue long past July 15, and that many would come to know Christ through the online event.

PRAY for revival in Denmark through these unusual times.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

The Bible students are back!

After 10 and a half weeks, students are returning to Børkop Højskole, a Bible training college in southest Jylland.  (See more about the school in Pray for Denmark, February 2017.) And for the young students there, this return from the COVID-19 lockdown couldn’t come a day too soon.

“The everyday isn’t completely the same,” reads an email from the school. “There’s more hand sanitizer, more distancing, and more cleaning. But overall we have the opportunity to resume Bible training, fellowship, and everything else that makes Bible college special.”

Even so, instructors at the Bible college will be challenged to adapt their classes and activities, keeping things safe while inspiring young Bible students to grow in their faith and reach out during a time of recovery in Denmark.

So it’s a challenging time, but also an exciting, fresh opportunity for God to work in young hearts at a wonderful school.

PRAY for the students at Børkop, that they will see God’s hand in their lives, that they will take a closer look at their faith, and that they would follow Jesus as never before.

PRAY that God would draw many undecided students to attend the school, as well.

PRAY for the professors at Børkop, that they would find new and creative ways to pass along Biblical truth in the midst of a changed world.

PRAY for revival at Børkop Højskole, that this community would be a shining light for Christ, and that they would bring this faith home with them wherever they go.

Monday, May 04, 2020

Can't meet? No problem.

Recently, Denmark has made headlines for their approach to combatting the corona-virus. What has not made the headlines is how Danish Christians have weathered the storm—and even thrived, despite the challenges.

One example: After more than a year without a lead pastor, believers in Ølgod Valgmenighed (church) finally hired Jón Poulsen to fill their pulpit. The only problem was, his hiring still needed ratification by the church membership, which numbers close to 400. And under strict stay-at-home regulations, they were prevented from meeting… at least face-to-face.

So in typical Danish fashion, they came up with a creative solution—drive-in voting. Members responded by the dozens, driving through a neatly arranged course next to a church house to approve Poulsen’s hiring in just a couple of hours.

Pastor Poulsen is now scheduled to begin at his new church in a few weeks. He and his wife Laila have already bought a home in the area, and are ready to move to southwest Jylland with their four children.

“I’m looking forward to making Ølgod Valgmenighed known locally,” he said. “I was converted when I was 17, and I’ve always been driven to see people experience the same thing—to come to faith in Jesus.”

Ølgod Valgmenighed was founded in 2001 by people with a connection to the Indre Mission renewal movement and the Lutheran Mission. The “Valgmenighed” part of their name means “(Free) choice fellowship,” and it represents a growing alternative arm of the Lutheran church.

PRAY for the church at Ølgod, that they would grow in grace and in numbers with the arrival of Jón Poulsen and his family in June.

PRAY for the Poulsens as they settle into their new home and church, that they would connect quickly with both church members and those outside the fellowship.

PRAY that others in the church at Ølgod would catch Pastor Poulsen’s vision to reach the lost.

PRAY for the church in Denmark, that they would thrive and reach even more people during this time of pandemic.

PRAY that God’s Holy Spirit would inspire Danish believers to tackle challenges in new and creative ways.

PRAY for revival in Denmark, that believers there would see and respond to God’s priorities in a whole new light.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

During the pandemic

We are all home, practicing social distancing, washing our hands, avoiding public places. The coronavirus is obviously a serious worldwide threat. But believers in Denmark are especially hard-hit. Please pray for the country of Denmark, and especially for the Danish church.

PRAY that God will work in the hearts of believers, even as they are isolated in their homes. Pray that God would dispel fear and loneliness, replacing it with hope.  

PRAY that churches will use other ways of connecting during this time--online worship services, email, and more. Pray for creativity and courage.  

PRAY that Christians will be a positive witness to their neighbors, online or any way possible.

PRAY for the safety of the Danish people, and that this pandemic would soon pass. 

PRAY for Denmark. 

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Danish Revival in 2020?

Here’s a collection of encouraging notes from the Danish church so far this year. Let’s keep praying for Denmark in 2020!

Revive Europe! draws Danish young people. This 6-day-long evangelism conference and new year’s celebration in Germany brought together 3,000 college students from 68 countries—including students from Denmark. “God wants to ignite a fire inside of us and use it to set this continent on fire,” said event director Sarah Breuel.

PRAY especially for Danish students who attended, that they would bring a holy enthusiasm to reach their communities for Christ.

More confirmation interest than ever? More highschool-aged young people than ever have signed up for summer classes to learn more about faith—and about getting confirmed in the Lutheran Church. The classes are aimed at 14- to 18-year-olds attending four “efterskole” campuses. (The efterskole is a unique voluntary residential high school program throughout Denmark.)

PRAY that God would stir up even more efterskole students and bring revival to these campuses!

Danish and German pastors have begun to meet and pray. Pastors in southern Denmark are crossing the border to meet with their German counterparts in northern Germany. Never mind their cultural differences, they’re praying regularly for their churches and for the lost.

PRAY with these church leaders from both countries that revival would jump the border and spread throughout southern Denmark.

Danish young people are more open today to hearing about faith in Jesus, according to a panel discussion at the most recent Frikirkenet leader conference, held last November in the city of Kolding. Although plenty of obstacles remain, and the social climate can be rough (especially on social media), church leaders are seeing open doors that were once tightly closed.

PRAY that Danish Christians will take this opportunity to boldly introduce friends and neighbors to Jesus Christ—and that God would move in this country in 2020 as never before.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

A Christmas party in Aarhus

When it’s Christmas, most Danish churches look forward to holiday lights. But the believers at the Aarhus Vineyard really know how to celebrate. Let’s visit.

Aarhus Vineyard is relatively new, planted in Denmark’s second-largest city in the spring of 2017. They’re a member of the worldwide Vineyard movement of churches found in more than 90 countries.

On their Facebook page, they explain they’re a church for people who “aren’t used to going to church. We’re a fellowship with everyday, imperfect people who have a big dream for our city!”

Worship at Aarhus Vineyard is contemporary and relaxed, a “come as you are” atmosphere that seeks to include seekers or those who are unsure of the Christian faith. There’s a heavy emphasis on including families with children. But along with their Sunday worship, there’s an equal emphasis on involving people in small home groups, as a place for fellowship, accountability, and spiritual growth.

What really sets Aarhus Vineyard apart is its outward focus and their love for “the least of these” in their city. Their bold “Plan A” ministry reaches out to women caught up in the city’s bordellos and massage parlors, bringing them a message of forgiveness and redemption. Aarhus Vineyard members have also started a food and fellowship group for vulnerable street people, where they gather at a drop-in center to prepare meals and share God’s love. And this Christmas, the church has been sharing the love of Christ by collecting and distributing gifts to needy children and their families.

“We don’t just want to keep to ourselves,” says their website. “We want to be a church that reaches out and shows God’s love to people, right where they are in their lives, with a dream of seeing God’s kingdom break through.”

PRAY for the leadership at Aarhus Vineyard, that they would remain grounded in God’s grace and truth.

PRAY for growth in the church’s small groups, for boldness among group members to keep reaching out, and for even more unbelievers to be introduced to the Savior.

PRAY for holiday events and services at Aarhus Vineyard, for Christmas and New Year’s, for the outreach and the worship, for the celebration, and that many will come to know Christ.

PRAY for revival in Aarhus and beyond, that God will use Aarhus Vineyard in new and exciting ways.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Church is open!

Over the next several blog posts, let’s visit some Danish churches, get to know the people there, and pray for them.

First stop: Åbenkirke (OpenChurch), a lively, growing family church with branches in both Herning and Copenhagen, as well as a sister church in Zambia.

While the worship services at Åbenkirke might remind you of a similar evangelical church in the US, this church isn’t quite typical for Denmark. Services are led by a band up front, and the worship is thoroughly contemporary.

There’s also a strong emphasis on outreach here. Stop by their website this month, and you’ll see links to recent sermons, an invitation to a singles Christmas feast, a signup page for an Alpha (seeker’s) course, and more about joining a small group. There’s something for everyone, with ministries for children, young people, and adults. The church runs a café, and employs six pastors—also unusual for Danish churches. And since this fellowship was planted in 2007, there’s been an emphasis on building a welcoming atmosphere for all.

“Who says church has to be sad and boring,” says their Facebook page, “with no room for smiles and dancing?”

There’s plenty of both at Åbenkirke. Watch this short video, with English subtitles, called “Se Min Kirke” (“See My Church”):

And then let’s:

PRAY that many unchurched would come to faith in Christ this holiday season through the outreach of Åbenkirke.

PRAY for renewal among those who regularly attend, that they would come to know Jesus better.

PRAY for the pastoral staff: Lars Bo Olesen (lead pastor), Niels-Peter Hedegaard, Allan Høyer, Andreas Jørgensen, Esben Dulwich Engholm, and Jens Erik Asmussen. Ask God to given them wisdom and a heart for ministry, and to keep them safe.

PRAY for revival in the cities of Herning and Copenhagen, and that God would continue to use the believers in Åbenkirke in new and exciting ways.