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!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Pray for the pilgrims

With the coming of spring weather, thousands of Danes will lace up their walking shoes and explore the outdoors. Some will even discover the Lord.

Pray for a growing trend in Denmark towards pilgrimage walks—single day or multi-day hikes along specially designated trails between churches where walkers are met with encouragement to consider the Lord of the outdoors.

A new, 106-kilometer trail between nine churches has recently been opened, called Camino Haderslev Næs. On this trail and others, Elisabeth Lidell leads groups that include a mixture of churched, unchurched, saved, and seeking.

“I meet people who are used to attending church and who want to go deeper in their faith,” she said, “and people for whom church is foreign, but who are curious and open. Perhaps they haven’t been in church since they were confirmed, they’ve dabbled in Eastern religions, and in their middle age are turning back to find meaning in Christianity.”

Since 2009, Elisabeth has been giving pilgrim hikers something to think about, including study questions to ponder alone or in groups at rest stops along the way. She chats with fellow walkers in her group who care to listen. As she describes it, they’re not sitting passively in the pews, but they’re considering Scripture and prayer in a fresh way, in “the Lord’s big cathedral.”

For some, it may be the only kind of church they’ve ever experienced.

PRAY for the seekers who walk Denmark’s pilgrim trails this summer, that they would encounter a clear gospel presentation in Scripture and in creation.

PRAY for the doubters and unbelievers who find themselves walking, that God would soften their hearts and that they would find Jesus on the way.

PRAY for Elisabeth Lidell and other Christians on Denmark’s pilgrim trails, that they would draw closer to God, challenge others, and return to their lives strengthened and renewed.

PRAY that revival would spread through Denmark in its beautiful woods and meadows, and from there back to homes, churches, villages, and cities.

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.