Tuesday, February 27, 2007

English Bible Study in Aarhus

Pray for Denmark.com often receives requests from people in various countries asking for help in locating a church to attend while in Denmark for a brief or longer time. Just recently a foreign student at the University of Aarhus wrote asking if we knew of English services in Aarhus. Not having that information at hand, I tried to get the information for her though it took me some time to find it. Meanwhile, the student herself had found a weekly Bible study. When I had finally located the same Bible study group and emailed her she had already been attending for several weeks and was enjoying it immensely.

As it turns out, the laid-back, non-denominational Bible study is led by Theis Broegger, a good friend of Pray for Denmark.com since its inception. Folks from various countries and church backgrounds have found the group provides excellent and focused Bible study along with fulfilling Christian fellowship through worship, prayer, and social activities. While it is an independent group, it meets in facilities graciously opened to them by the Apostolic Church in Aarhus. The language used in the Bible study is English, a language in which Theis is as proficient as he is in his native Danish. Theis is a journalist by profession, as is Brad, my partner in the Pray for Denmark.com ministry.

The website for the new Bible study group can be found at http://www.aarhusbiblestudy.dk/. Information about location, some photos, and contact data are provided on the website as are downloads of past weekly Bible study content. Currently the study is in the Gospel of John. Sessions are held each Monday evening at 7:00 o’clock in the facilities of the Apostolic Church, Nørre Allé 23, 8000-Aarhus C. Already there are 20-25 people involved in the Bible study.

Theis tells Pray for Denmark.com that his vision for this Bible study is "as simple as it gets: feed the sheep." He adds, "God has told me not to worry or concern myself with the amount of people that might come, but to focus fully on preparing meaty spiritual meals each night for those that do show up. It has been a blessing to see how God has blessed it tremendously. His Word is powerful, so as long as we serve that faithfully, we all go home edified and inspired."

PRAISE God that international students and permanent residents for whom English is their first or preferred language now have a weekly opportunity for solid Bible study and warm Christian fellowship.

PRAY for the Spirit’s wisdom and direction as Theis (and Allison) work with the Aarhus Bible study group and for the weekly preparation of study materials.

PRAY for those who are attending the Bible study, that they will delve deeply into the Scriptures as did the Bereans in the Book of Acts 17:11: "They received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true" (NIV).

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Tightening of Residence Requirements

The Danish government is tightening immigration laws and the conditions for issuing residence permits (visas) to foreign pastors, missionaries, and other religious workers. Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen has implied that in the past residence permits have been able to be obtained too easily.

Among other requirements, the government is now demanding that pastors, missionaries, and other religious workers desiring to establish legal residence in Denmark be appropriately educated, be financially self-sufficient, have more than passing familiarity with the Danish language and culture, and respect Denmark's position on human rights, in particular the right of an individual to change religions. Given world conditions at the present time, it is likely that national security concerns are in large part fueling the new residence requirements.

Muslim leaders believe the new requirements are discriminatory, designed to limit the activities of imams already in the country and prevent the entry of others. Christian leaders believe that the all-encompassing law may have a negative effect on the residence of international pastors and missionaries, including those called to ministry by local congregations. As we understand it, the law will require an applicant to be recommended by an existing, legally recognized Danish denomination.

At the present time there altogether nearly 700 foreign pastors, missionaries, or religious workers of all sorts in the country (including evangelical pastors and missionaries, Muslim imams, and Mormon missionaries). Some evangelicals have been waiting several years to obtain approval of their residence permit applications, among them Lee Hanson, Tony Acheampong, and Jonas Kouassi-Zessia. In a recent issue, the weekly newsletter of the Danish Baptist Union indicated that residence permits for the three pastors are at long last expected to be approved (

PRAY that the new requirements for residence permits will not adversely affect the opportunities for ministry on the part of evangelical pastors and missionaries approved the various free church denominations.

for Pastor Lee Hanson's ministry through Bethel Baptist Church in Aalborg. Lee, originally from the USA, speaks fluent Danish and received his seminary education in Denmark. He has an significant work with international students at Aalborg University. (www.bethelkirken.dk)

for Pastor Tony Acheampong's ministry with the International City Baptist Church in Taastrup. This church is oriented to English-speaking Africans and other internationals residing in Denmark. (www.tvaerkulturelt-center.dk/)

for Pastor Jonas Kouassi-Zessia of Copenhagen's Eglise Protestante Baptiste. Pastor Jonas is a former Ivory Coast diplomat. The church is oriented toward French-speaking Africans now working or studying in Denmark. (www.tvaerkulturelt-center.dk/)