Saturday, November 03, 2018

Down from the mountaintop

What happens when a person returns from a great youth group event, a camp experience, or an exciting conference? We have yet to find out, as Danish youth from all over the country return to their everyday lives following the Brighter four-day youth conference, held last month in Mariager.

Brighter is a cooperative effort between groups like Youth for Christ, Vineyard Danmark, the Baptists, and the Lutheran Oasis renewal movement.

“Brighter is a cross-church youth event for the entire country,” said conference organizer Rasmus Jonstrup, “where you’re welcome just as you are. We live in a culture where so much revolves around things that have to be beautiful. There has to be a good presentation. It has to be impressive. The problem with that is it often becomes too shallow. And that’s not what we want at Brighter. In contrast, we want a conference that’s authentic. Where there’s room for all our humanity. All our mistakes, and all our doubts. We want a conference where there’s room for all, just as we are. Where we can be real in all that we do. Our songs, and our teaching. And in our fellowship. Brighter is for everyone.”

For many Danish youth, it’s been a mountaintop experience. And why not? The teaching, music, fun, and fellowship… everything they enjoyed at Brighter must have seemed larger than life. Especially if they returned to school assignments and family tensions. To small towns and small churches.

Let’s pray for these young Danes now, that the glow of this special time will remain, and that what they learned will carry through to the next few months… before it’s time to return to the Brighter mountaintop next fall!

PRAY for all the young Danes who attended this national youth conference, that God would help them apply and live what they learned and experienced.

PRAY for youth leaders across Denmark, that they would be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading as they face the coming year.

PRAY for more workers to be inspired as they follow up and return to their daily routines.

PRAY for revival among Denmark’s young people, that God would move through their lives and their examples to bring a whole new generation to Jesus Christ.

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.