Monday, August 20, 2007

Blessing at Roskilde Vineyard

Start-up of a new church plant in Denmark is a God-sized major undertaking not for the faint-hearted. Church planting is fraught with difficulties, so much so that it has been said that two out of three church plants in Denmark do not make it.

One that has seen God’s blessing and has thrived and grown is the Vineyard church plant in Roskilde. This new work has been under the leadership of co-pastors David and Solvej Allen. It has not been easy, but the Allens say, “We are thankful now and we chalk it all up to grace and endurance, mostly God’s endurance with us!”

Just last November, this several-years-old plant had a release party from the supervision by Copenhagen Vineyard leadership. Roskilde is no longer considered to be a church in the planting stage but now in its own right is a fully independent Vineyard church. The church is still a small but growing congregation of 50 that meets in Roskilde’s Kulturhuset (Culture House). Most of the members are young people, with a good number of them having only recently come to faith in Christ. A month ago or so David and Solvej had a wonderful celebration service at which two of the young men who have recently come to Christ were baptized in the Roskilde Fjord. One of them is now a house group (small group) leader and the other a worship leader, so as David and Solvej put it, “They are already getting ‘milked for all they’re worth’ in the Lord’s service.”

Church planters make some tremendous sacrifices. David and Solvej minister as a team with David as Senior Pastor (see photo above of recent worship and group leaders retreat with Solvej third person in the front row and David standing behind her). David has had full-time secular employment but will finally begin to get a day off every week starting in September. That will release him for more time in evangelism. Solvej has been on one-third salary from the church for the past year, so the church’s giving has also increased. She still has to work half-time as a secretary to help make ends meet. The Allens state that the church has a good sense of community, even though it took a long time to get to that point. Now people “hang out” and do fun things together all the time during the week. Four house groups also contribute to that end.

An exciting new development is that Roskilde Vineyard has been invited to have some of its services at the local Music Hall, a place where youth tend to gather. The Allens consider it to be a “God-thing” that this door has opened. Plans are to have three services in that venue this Fall with the hope of attracting a different crowd by meeting in this even more public place.

Pastor David had his 45th birthday recently and Solvej wanted to celebrate the event by taking him out for dinner after church, probably to have some time together just as a couple. However, five other people also wanted to come along with them and the Allens in true pastoral fashion thought, “Oh well, the more the merrier!” There was lots of fun and laughter. Solvej had felt bad that they had not been able to celebrate Pastor David’s birthday with more of a party because Sunday is a pastor’s “work day,” filled with preparing for the service, leading the service, and debriefing after the service. But when they got back home, they realized that eating with those great friends was so much fun. But not only that, they also realized with praise to God that out of the five who had joined them for dinner four had come to faith in Christ through the ministry of Roskilde Vineyard. It is likely they are all people that would have had a hard time adjusting to any other type of church setting. That thought made the Allens so thankful and, as David said, “What better birthday gift could anyone want!”

For more information, browse around in the church’s attractive website at

PRAISE the Lord for what He has been and is accomplishing in Roskilde through the power of God’s Holy Spirit wooing and winning people to Christ and to trust in His finished work of redemption.

PRAISE God for dedicated church planters David and Solvej Allen who have stayed committed to the task through thick and thin and have seen His working in many lives as an evidence of faithful, Spirit-empowered ministry.

PRAY that the young Vineyard church in Roskilde will maintain a strong, vibrant and grace-filled evangelistic outreach that will attract many Danes who would likely never become a part of any other type of church.

PRAY that the Lord will knit the members of Roskilde Vineyard together in unity and community to create a worshjpping congregation intent on discovering and using their spiritual gifts to build up and nurture the Body of Christ.

PRAY for God’s presence and blessing in the opportunities that will present themselves this fall to reach an entirely different crowd of young people in the occasional services that will be held at the new Music Hall venue in Roskilde. (The Allens report that the first service at the Music Hall on Sunday, August 19 went very well with an excellent turnout and many seekers! Praise the Lord!)

PRAY for continued passion and wisdom on the part of the church’s leadership, for effective grounding and discipling of new believers, and for new and fresh, Spirit-led ideas for fruitful evangelism.

PRAY that in the Lord’s timing the church’s increase in numbers and giving will allow Senior Pastor David and co-pastor Solvej to leave secular employment in order to engage full-time in ministry.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Tønder Festival 2007, August 23-26

Once again, Jutland’s southern border city of Tønder (pronounced TON-er) will be hosting its internationally known summer music festival, August 23-26. As it does every year, Tønder Festival 2007 will showcase many secular music groups, both traditional and folk.

Each year during the Festival the Tønder Frikirke, the small city’s only evangelical free church, makes a major effort to offer a vibrant and attractive musical witness. This year popular Christian singer-songwriter Hans Jørn Østerby, known as West Jutland’s Troubador, will be the Friday evening, August 24 headliner musician. On Saturday, August 25 the featured musicians will be the Danish southern gospel group, ABC Gospel Quartet. These fine Christian brothers, whose repertoire is in the style of the Gaither Vocal Band and The Imperials, will add to the variety of music that will be heard in secular venues during the Festival. The members of ABC Gospel Quartet are tenors Jan Stern Johansen and Ejvind Lohse; baritone Jens Bracher; bass Paul Sander Hansen; with pianist Øvind Lillemæhlum.

Tønder Frikirke is ideally situated in the central business area of the city with hundreds of excited Festivalgoers of many nationalities milling about. Sounds of music will be heard everywhere in the city whether through ticketed concerts in the cultural hall as well as informally on the streets. The hope is that many will be attracted to the sounds of music coming from the church’s worship center and be drawn inside. There they will be greeted warmly by the pastor, Rene Nielsen and members of the church. Coffee will be served (what would a Danish event be without coffee and a “little something” to go with it!). Friendly one on one conversation will go along with the coffeetime.

Zechariah 4:6 reminds us that it is “not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord almighty.” Plans and programs will fail without the might, power and presence of the Holy Spirit. As He provides the opening in the coffee and conversation-times, the visitor may be ready to accept a low-keyed, non-pressured and winsome witness to Christ and the gospel. Christian literature will also be made available. The church will be open from 8:00 to 11:00 p.m. on Friday the 24th and 3:30 to 11:00 p.m. on Saturday the 25th.

Prayer partners of Pray for, as you think about the wonderful opportunities Tønder Festival 2007 presents for an evangelistic outreach, in the next several weeks please

PRAY that the faithful efforts of Pastor Nielsen and Tønder Frikirke will be rewarded by many visitors to Tønder Festival 2007 accepting the invitation to come into the church’s worship center to hear the featured musicians.

PRAY that the Holy Spirit will use the style of music and earnest testimonies of Hans Jørn Østerby and the ABC Gospel Quartet to stir the hearts of visitors who may be spiritually hungry seekers.

PRAY that visitors who come to Tønder Festival 2007 only to hear a variety of secular music will have hearts open to the life-changing claims of the gospel and come to faith in Christ as Savior and Lord through the efforts of the Tønder Frikirke believers and the guest musicians.

PRAY that the Holy Spirit will be in control and use the ministry of every guest musician and every believer on Friday and Saturday, August 25-26 to the glory and praise of the Lord Jesus Christ.