Wednesday, April 23, 2008

First International Baptist Church, Copenhagen

Copenhagen’s First International Baptist Church is led by Pastor N. Erik Nielsen, a Dane born in Indonesia who received his training for the ministry primarily in the United States. The church was a relatively young church plant that has now been firmly established as a self-governing congregation. Previously, the host church (historic Kristuskirken, Denmark’s first Baptist congregation) had held English services but had not organized a separate congregation. The two churches continue to share the same facilities. Members and regular attenders of FIBC come from all over Metropolitan Copenhagen and outlying areas. Since last year, there are even families from Sweden in regular attendance at the Sunday services.

On any given Sunday, the FIBC congregation averages around 130, including children. When I attended services two years ago, I found the congregation to be truly international and the fellowship between people from many different countries warm and inviting. The pastor and his family (wife Kim and five handsome boys) are obviously greatly appreciated and Pastor Nielsen’s ministry of the Word is having a salutary effect on many lives. There is an evangelistic emphasis to the ministry and there have been several (nine in recent times) who have taken the first step of obedience in the Christian life through believers' baptism. Capable laypersons assist in various aspects of the ministry. Great emphasis is placed on small mid-week group meetings held in various parts of Copenhagen

Besides his preaching and teaching ministry, Pastor Nielsen is a well-trained musician and pianist. On the occasion of attendance at the services, I noted that he had a large responsibility for the music, making it difficult to care efficiently for other aspects of the service. He told me then that he really needed someone to assist with the music and I have prayed regularly that the Lord would fulfill that need. In the summer that same year, the Lord answered our prayers when a college student intern assisted with the worship and music. More recently a person employed by the United Nations has become the church’s worship coordinator, often leading the worship services. That freed the pastor to start a choir ministry for Christmas and Easter cantatas that ever since has become an outreach event drawing a number of people to attend the church regularly. This year again there the Christmas and Easter services were very well-attended.

As in any international church, there are challenges. Many members and regular attenders are only temporarily employed in Denmark. It is not always easy to find replacements for key leaders when they complete their employment in Denmark and must move on to other countries and assignments.

The host church, the Danish-language Kristuskirken, continues its ministry under the leadership of Pastor Ove Vang Jensen who was called out of retirement to serve while the church is without a pastor. There is a shortage of possible pastoral candidates among the Free churches in general and the Baptist churches in particular so the interim has extended beyond the church’s expectations. In addition to the Danish and English-speaking congregations, Kristuskirken is also host to Spanish-speaking services conducted by Digna Fernandez, and Roumanian services conducted by Julia Bajna.

Webpages: and Kristuskirken is located at Baggesensgade, 2200 Copenhagan N.

PRAY for the spiritual health and growth of Kristuskirken and for encouragement through interim Pastor Ove Vang Jensen’s faithful ministry. Pastor Jensen is a former pastor of the church.

PRAY that the Lord will speedily raise up a Danish-speaking pastoral candidate for Kristuskirken to succeed interim Pastor Jensen who was called out of retirement to take up leadership of this important church of the Danish Baptist Union. The interim has now extended to 18 months and the need is most urgent for the calling of a new pastor. Our prayer support is crucial and much appreciated.

PRAISE God for the fruitful outreach events that have come about under Pastor N. Erik Nielsen’s ministry with Copenhagen’s First International Baptist Church and especially for the believers baptisms in recent months.

PRAY, as key leaders and volunteers at FIBC must leave Denmark for other places and assignments, that God will raise up replacements who possess needed spiritual gifting for the health and growth of the church body..

PRAY that FIBC and Kristuskirken’s Danish, Spanish and Roumanian ministries will flourish with renewed emphasis on evangelism and revival.

PRAY for a number of Free churches and Baptist churches in Denmark that are currently without pastors. The available pool of candidates is extremely limited and the need is critical.

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