Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
FIBC gathers English-speaking Danes and expatriates from many countries who are working in businesses or are studying at Danish educational institutions in the Copenhagen metropolitan area. The congregation has a truly international flavor with English serving as the unifying language. When I visited the Sunday afternoon services at FIBC, there were regular attenders and visitors from many different countries. Internationals, many of whom are the product of extensive missionary work in their home countries, are making a tremendous contribution to Danish church life and in turn their experience in Denmark is helping them be better prepared as leaders upon return to their home lands.
Kristuskirken (Copenhagen's First Baptist Church) is Denmark's oldest free church (churches not part of the Folkekirke, the country's national church) and faces some of the same problems of older mainline churches elsewhere in the world. Its influence throughout Scandinavia is well-recognized and honored. To grow, older churches always need new vision and purpose and flexibility in meeting the challenges of cultural change. Especially needed is an influx of younger, committed believers who have the potential to move into the future with strong emphases on Spirit-directed evangelism and purposeful ministries. An older church cannot thrive and move forward with power merely on its past history but must press on vigorously to meet the challenges of proclaiming the unchanging gospel of Jesus Christ in a changing world and culture.
PRAISE God for the more than a century and a half of Kristuskirken's history of unsverving loyalty to the gospel of Christ and for its unquestioned influence on all the free churches in Denmark.
PRAISE God for the vision of Pastor Emeritus Ove Vang Jensen and the congregation of Kristuskirken in establishing English-speaking work that has led to the formation of the independent and autonomous First International Baptist Church of Copenhagen.
PRAY for a strong evangelistic outreach by strategically placed FIBC and for the discovery of effective means of making its message and ministry known to English-speaking internationals in the Copenhagen metropolitan area.
PRAY that the Lord will bring to FIBC a much-needed keyboardist to relieve the pastor of his current dual roles of musician and preacher.
PRAY that FIBC's congregation will continue to grow numerically but also in knowledge and obedience to the Word of God, commitment to evangelism, and the training of leaders.
PRAY that the Lord will bless and encourage the ministry of Pastor Michael Jensen and give the congregation and leadership of Kristuskirken's Danish congregation a breakthrough in a vision for new avenues of evangelism and ministry.
PRAY for the development and growth of the Yugoslavian, Romanian, and Spanish-language ministries at Kristuskirken and wisdom on the part of those responsible for leading them.
Monday, May 01, 2006
Dansk Oase, founded in 1989, has been strongly influenced by and supportive of charismatic renewal. One informant suggests that, "While the others do not deny that God bestows spiritual gifts on believers or that He heals, they question the acceptability of certain phenomena and especially the necessity of the "baptism of the Holy Spirit" in order to believe in and practice the gifts of the Spirit." The informant continues, stating that "The frictions between the old revival movements and Oase/Charismatics were stronger in the past than they are now. The new generation of leaders seems to have opened up to at least some elements of the renewal, in particular new worship songs which are used across the board but which originated within the international charismatic revival circles. The big divide is still in the theology and it also has direct bearing on the acceptability of certain phenomena" accepted by the charismatic/Pentecostal movement.
Much of the work of the revival/renewal movements takes place in local "mission houses," schools, or adherents' homes, and sometimes even in a local Folkekirke if the church is inspired or influenced by a particular renewal group. Several of the revival groups have very vital interests and involvement in overseas missions. The informant cited above states that some of the movements are stronger in certain areas of Denmark than in others. Some of the groups have a tendency towards isolating themselves from the Folkekirke and forming alternative churches. Luthersk Missionsforening has been more active in forming alternative congregations, but more recently some in Indre Mission have begun to follow LM's lead. We believe God would be pleased if these movements could find it in themselves to join hearts and hands without reservation to pray together for revival. We also sense that a major factor in the answer for Denmark's spiritual needs must come from genuine revival and renewal within the Folkekirke.