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.

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.