Saturday, December 19, 2009

Why Pray for Denmark?

We are in the midst of the Advent season and Christmas is now only a few days away. Sitting here at my computer in California, for various reasons my thoughts have focused on my ancestral homeland of Denmark. Prayer for Denmark is always on my heart.

It’s strange as I write that so close to Christmas a large United Nations climate change conference is in tumultuous session in Copenhagen. This in the middle of a season when the Christian world focuses on the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, at Bethlehem some 2000 years ago. Climate change theory has unfortunately taken on a sort of religious fervor of its own that is sadly at odds with the true meaning of Advent. So as to not offend non-Christian participants, I understand Copenhagen has been largely cleansed of anything that would remotely suggest Christ or Christmas.

Thankfully, the climate change conference will soon be over and Danes can get on with preparations for Julefest (Christmas), one of the country’s major holidays. Though considered to be a Christian country, secularism has Denmark by the throat and for the larger percentage of Danes Christianity has become irrelevant. True, the churches will see larger attendances on Christmas Eve than is usually the case. However, out of a population of nearly six million, we understand that only one sixth will attend Christmas Eve services. Most will not be seen again until Easter, if then.

Why do we pray for Denmark? We do so because the love of Christ compels us to. There are churches all over the land but Danish culture has wedded Christian rites into what in reality has become a secular society. There are thousands upon thousands of Danes baptized into the church but for whom Christ and Christianity have little or no meaning for everyday life. The essence of Christmas and the power of the Gospel is that Christ came into the world to save sinners. The Apostle Paul put it this way, “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” (1 Corinthians 5:14-15, NIV).

Denmark needs to be re-evangelized and that is why this webpage calls upon believers throughout the world, especially perhaps those with Danish roots, to pray that Danes would come to know the presence and power of Christ in every aspect of their lives and culture. Advent and Christmas help us to understand that God wants all people to come to a knowledge of the truth and to escape the wrath that is to come. The meaning and message of Christmas is encapsulated in 1 Timothy 2:5: “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time.” In God’s timing the Babe born in a manger at Bethlehem is the One who died on the cross at Calvary as a ransom for all humankind. The world abhors the thought that Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, but the truth remains that no one comes to have a relationship with God and to possess eternal life except through commitment to Jesus Christ.

Let me urge every reader of this page who is committed to Christ to continue faithfully in prayer for this little jewel of a Nordic country that Danes might “get it” and come to grips with what Advent and Christmas are really about―Christ came into the world to save sinners. What a wonderful Christmas present that was. That is the message Denmark needs to hear at Christmas 2009.

PRAY for the minority of Danes, their churches and pastors who do know and understand the meaning of the Gospel, that God would give them boldness of life and witness as the redeemed of the Lord.

PRAY with us that a revival of biblical truth and genuine understanding of the Gospel story from the manger to the cross will fill the spiritual vacuum in the hearts of many Danes in the weeks and months ahead.

Monday, October 26, 2009

God is up to something in Copenhagen

I have recently had some delightful correspondence with Kasper Thorskov Hansen, an intern at Copenhagen’s Vineyard Christian Fellowship. Kasper shared with me some aspects of his own journey as a believer from being raised in a Christian home, to a period of wandering, to a crisis experience in New Zealand when he almost lost his life in strong and powerful river currents, to his restoration to Christian fellowship at Grace Vineyard in Christchurch, to his felt call to Christian leadership during the course of a unique six-week Capernwray Adventure Bible School in New Zealand, to his return to Denmark where he became involved at Copenhagen Vineyard as a small group and prayer group leader and in other outreach and church activities culminating in his selection as an intern. Kasper has not lost sight of his call to ministry and leadership. His fellow interns are Anne Walsøe, Samuel Larsen, and Michael Hald Jacobsen.

As an intern, Kasper reports that his responsibilities center in outreach. Copenhagen Vineyard, whose lead pastor is our good friend Flemming Mølhede, is growing in numbers and effectiveness. Kasper reports that its pastors are part of a new monthly prayer meeting composed of pastors of different churches and diverse backgrounds, “but with the same fire for God’s kingdom work.” Its purpose is to focus on the almost overwhelming spiritual and unmet social needs of metropolitan Copenhagen. As Kasper puts it, and I agree wholeheartedly, “Wow, God is up to something!”

Since it was planted in 1997, Copenhagen Vineyard has taken the church out into the community, branching out into several social- and evangelistic outreach ministries. Kasper informs us of a new outreach involving 28 women of the congregation working in conjunction with Reden (The Nest) International. This organization works in several Danish cities to combat the trafficking of women from other countries who have been brought to Denmark and forced to work as prostitutes. It offers counseling, medical help, a place to live and other needed helps. Though most of the website is in Danish, there is a summary available in English at

Kasper writes that Vineyard is dreaming of even further growth of its outreach ministries into Greater Copenhagen. The church is now in process of starting up a ministry on behalf of single mothers, offering them practical in-home aid and other elements anticipated as the ministry gets off the ground.

PRAY that the Holy Spirit will come in power to bring about unity of heart, mind and purpose through the recently convened monthly prayer meetings of Copenhagen pastors deeply burdened for the spiritual and social needs of the metropolitan area.

PRAY that Pastor Flemming Mølhede and his leadership team, including staff members and interns, will experience unity and the Spirit’s guidance in all areas of the church’s life and outreach ministries.

PRAY that Copenhagen Vineyard’s participation in the work of Reden International will bring salvation, healing, deliverance and a new direction in life to women from other countries that have been forced by criminal elements into a life of prostitution in Denmark.

PRAY that God will give great vision, wisdom and creative direction to Copenhagen Vineyard as it starts up a new work on behalf of single mothers.
PRAY for Copenhagen Vineyard’s interns—Kasper Thorskov Hansen, Anne Walsøe (with Reden International), Samuel Larsen, and Michael Hald Jacobsen—that each of them will “be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17) in service for Christ wherever and however God leads.

Friday, September 25, 2009

"New Danes" and Ethnic Churches

It is estimated that of Denmark’s population of five and a half million, almost seven and half percent are of non-Nordic descent. Denmark has received immigrants from all over the world, including various Arab and Muslim countries, the former Yugoslavia, and many countries of sub-Saharan Africa and the Far East. The peak of immigration was reached in 1995 when 40,000 immigrants came to Denmark.

The largest ethnic group, and also the second largest faith after the Danish Lutheran Folkekirke, is Islam with its more than150,000 adherents (three times the number of free church evangelicals in the country). Some ethnic groups have a better history of assimilation into Danish society and culture than others. Muslims, for instance, vigorously resist assimilation. Once an open door country, more recently there has been a backlash on immigration in Denmark and we are told the country now has the strictest immigration policies in Europe.

Among “New Dane” immigrants are those with a strong Christian faith and commitment. Because of language and other cultural factors many have not felt entirely at home in Danish language churches. As a consequence, more than 200 ethnic churches or groups have been formed in Denmark, worshiping in such languages as Kinyarwanda, Tamil, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Burmese, Farsi, Kiswahili, Karen, Twi, Tagalog, Korean, Arabic, and Amharic, as well as various languages of eastern and western Europe. Some congregations minister to immigrants from English-or French-speaking African or Asian countries.

It is noteworthy that the more spirited and sometimes exuberant worship of various ethnic churches has been eye-opening for Danes used to formalistic religion. Black Gospel music has captured the interest of many Danes, even those who are not particularly religiously inclined. Nothing short of amazing is how many “swinging and swaying” Gospel Choirs there are throughout Denmark, even among parishes of the Folkekirke. “Gospel Kor” concerts are not all that uncommon. Though Danes are a fun-loving people, their staid religious tradition and expression has tended to present itself in stark contrast to ethnic worship styles. Ethnic churches and Black Gospel music may be one way God is “loosening” up Danes who would ordinarily look askance at more uninhibited worship expressions. Under our very eyes, there may also be a sort of pre-evangelism at work. Christianity in Denmark has over the centuries become so institutionalized that it seldom opens itself to a vibrant, heart-stirring worship experience. It is no wonder that a large percentage of Danes are in reality practical atheists.

If Denmark is to be re-evangelized, as in the early history of the Church, Christianity has to move from being merely an institution with ecclesiastical trappings and traditions to a genuine, heart-gripping movement of the Holy Spirit. Ethnic churches in Denmark may be leading the way.

Church Integration Ministries (KIT), led by Pastor Hans Henrik Lund, is doing a splendid job of tracking what God is doing through the ethnic churches and fellowships and offering them fellowship and assistance.

PRAISE God for those strongly evangelical and evangelistic ethnic churches that are showing Danes that worship can be heart-stirring and exciting while firmly anchored in the truths of God’s Word.

PRAY that with Denmark’s new and stricter immigration policies and a slowed influx of new immigrants, the country’s “New Danes” will ultimately assimilate Danish language and culture without losing the spontaneity of their worship and evangelistic zeal.

PRAY that where needed, other ethnic evangelical churches and fellowships will be established and warmly welcomed by their counterpart Danish churches.

PRAY that the ethnic believers will not be stand-offish but rather experience unity of heart, mind and ministry with their fellow Danish evangelicals.

PRAY for Church Integration Ministries (KIT) and its very competent leader Hans Henrik Lund, serving as a clearinghouse for relations between Danish churches and the country’s ethnic congregations and fellowships.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Unanticipated Ministry

When Pray for (abbrev. PFD) came online in 2004, something happened subsequently that neither Brad nor I had quite anticipated. Almost from the beginning we have had requests from people going to Denmark for a visit or even for temporary or long-term residence to assist them in finding “a good evangelical, Bible-believing church.” We have had requests from students coming to Denmark for higher education and also for Danish students who have studied in other countries and while there have come to faith in Christ. They need to find a Danish congregation that will nurture them in the faith. Once, a crew member on a ship that had come into Copenhagen harbor emailed us to help him find a church in the city where he could worship on the Lord’s Day. It was rather amusing that he would email us in the United States to assist him in finding a church in the very city in Denmark where his ship was docked. What wonders of communication there are in our modern day. Though it has surprised us to have such requests as these, we thank the Lord for this unanticipated and unplanned facet of our ministry.

I have endeavored to be as helpful as possible in responding to these various requests. Though I have a pretty good handle on the various Danish denominations and organizations and their theological commitments, I am sometimes hard put to locate a “good church” in some of the out-of-the-way locations in Denmark, though I try very hard to do so. Many evangelical churches tend to be located in urban areas with fewer to be found in the smaller towns and rural areas. I know a number of Danish pastors and churches and have contact with some that I have not met personally, so it has been interesting research for me in helping inquirers find a church or to make contact with a pastor or church leader.

We are often asked to recommend a church that has services in English, though I have responded that the vast majority of Danes speak English and many Danish churches are glad to provide simultaneous translation during their services. Some inquirers insist that the church they wish to find has to be non- charismatic in theology and practice, while others are just as emphatic that they are looking for a charismatic church. That sometimes makes it difficult because among evangelicals in Denmark currently the charismatic movement has made significant numerical gains and a majority of the Danish free churches appear to have accepted that theological commitment, including some Lutheran churches. Unfortunately, some of the older non-charismatic or classic evangelical churches appear to have cooled off and have lost much of their original evangelistic zeal. Evangelicals from other countries seem to think that the choice of churches in Denmark would parallel those to be found in their own countries. For that reason, I often have to explain the situation in Denmark and that choices of denominations and churches are fewer in number. My greatest regret is that PFD does not always get feedback from the recommendations that are made, though there are those who have expressed gratitude for this aspect of our ministry.

While helping people find a church is an unanticipated but yet important part of what Pray for does, it is secondary to our main emphasis, that is, soliciting prayer worldwide for revival/renewal, evangelism and church planting in Denmark.

PRAY that the Holy Spirit will give wisdom and discernment in assisting those who contact Pray for find a church in the area they plan to visit or where they expect to establish permanent or temporary residence.

PRAY especially for churches in the larger Danish cities that regularly have services in English and attract visitors from many countries. An example of such churches is Copenhagen’s First International Baptist Church whose entire ministry is English-language based..

PRAY for a young Dane who was an exchange student in the United States and while abroad found Christ as Savior and Lord. This young person, and possibly others like him, needs to be integrated in a Bible-believing Danish congregation where he can be nurtured in the faith and find supportive friendships and fellowship with other believers. PFD has made some church recommendations.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

New Wine, New Wineskins

Though I have not been able to find the original documentation, there is research information from Denmark that seems rather ominous. The July 2009 issue of Church New from Denmark (No. 3/6), published by the Danish Lutheran Church’s (Folkekirke’s) Council of International Relations, cites some amazing statistics derived from interviews done by the YouGov Zapera research organization. In 820 interviews, it was found that 17 percent of Danish Lutheran church members believe in reincarnation. However, only 15 percent believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. Eighteen percent of those interviewed would like to have the Church accept reincarnation on a par with other ideas about life after death. There was agreement by 70 percent of the interviewees that the basis for religion is “we should be good to one another,” while 34 percent agreed with the statement, “I’ve found my own way of being religious.”

For committed Christians, these interview results are very disturbing. The item in Church News from Denmark remarks that with only 3 percent of the members of the Folkekirke attending services regularly, that fact in itself may be a prime reason for such statistics of departure from the tenets of historical Christianity.

The Gospel of Christ has been so compromised in Denmark with “churchianity” and comfortable unbelief that the country needs to be re-evangelized to make clear that the Gospel of Jesus Christ demands spiritual rebirth—a belief that Jesus Christ died for the sins of all and a personal decision and commitment to live for Him. The oft-repeated verse of John 3:16 (NIV) says it well, “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” God wants everyone to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. And what is that truth? – “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all men” (1 Timothy 2:5-6,NIV). “If you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved” (Romans 1:9, 10, NIV).

Why do we fervently pray for revival, evangelism and church planting in Denmark? Can anything be clearer as a reason than the statistics cited above? The trappings of religion are everywhere in Denmark, but there is so little evidence of dynamic belief, spiritual power and God-focused lifestyle. There is relatively little success in pouring new wine into old wineskins. There is continuing need for the planting of new churches, new wine in new wineskins.

Denmark is under-evangelized. The time is ripe to present the Gospel in its purity to the Danish people. In the 1840s, God brought to Denmark a wave of evangelism and church planting through the Baptists that initiated the free church movement not only in Denmark but in all of Scandinavia. Our prayer is: Oh, God, do it again!

PRAISE God for Denmark’s minority of evangelical believers who hold fast to the truths of the Gospel, not forgetting those within the Folkekirke who also hold in common with them the truths of the Word of God about sin and salvation. They are truly “a voice crying in the wilderness.”

PRAY “without ceasing” for this small country of Denmark that in a new wave of evangelism the Holy Spirit t would counteract the country’s plunge into secularism and convict the Danish people of how far they have strayed from God and how much they need the Savior whose finished work of redemption assures salvation for everyone who believes.

PRAY that Bible-believing evangelicals in Denmark will prioritize the planting of new churches throughout the country and that God will raise up mature couples to be skilled and wise evangelists and church planters. God will provide the resources when they step out by faith.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Danish Bible Camps and Conferences in 2009

Throughout the summer months from June to the first week or so of September there will be many Bible camps and denominational annual conferences of virtually every evangelical group in Denmark. They may be of only a single day’s duration but many are in week-long session. Some of the denominations have critical issues to debate and act upon.

In previous years, I have attempted to list as many camps and conferences as I was able to provide information about as to dates and locations. I won’t do that this year, but since these are significant gatherings of churches, denominations, and parachurch and Lutheran revival organizations it is important that throughout the summer months readers of this webpage take it upon themselves to pray earnestly for them.

Danes love the out-of-doors so that while these are recreational events they are more so opportunities for the Spirit of God to work in believers’ lives in settings removed from their home areas and home churches. With evangelicals a minority in the country, the fellowship aspect of these summer activities is vitally important and spiritually invigorating. However, for those churches and organizations primed to stress evangelism and faith commitment it is very likely there will be young people and adults who will come to trust Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord this very summer.

PRAY that the Holy Spirit will empower each one of these camps and/or conferences where the name of Jesus Christ is lifted up and His Word is honored, taught and preached.

PRAY that the leaders and the speakers will be guided by the Spirit to give teaching from the Word of God that speaks to campers’ personal and corporate issues and needs.

PRAY that every camper and attendee of the camps and conferences will have an open heart and mind to not only hear the Word of God but also to act upon what they hear.

PRAY that evangelism and spiritual nurture will impact the lives of those who may have come only for the recreational and social aspects of the camps and conferences.

PRAY that nagging issues brought forward in the annual meetings scheduled during the Danish denominational camps will be marked by unity of the Spirit and an attitude of sweet reasonableness in all of the discussions and business sessions.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Leadership Change at Roskilde Vineyard

The pastoral couple, Hasse and Gitte Falk Jakobsen, will be taking over Roskilde Vineyard’s overall pastoral leadership this week , i.e. May 1). When I heard that David and Solvej had come to believe it was God’s will that they turn over leadership to another pastoral couple, for some reason the first thought I had as successors was of Hasse and Gitte. I had met Hasse at the Copenhagen Vineyard where he had been involved with music ministries and leadership in the twelve years since its planting. With whatever gift of discernment the Lord has given me, I was impressed God was going to use him mightily in ministry. It is amazing how wonderfully well a transition can be made when God is in it and certainly He is in this one..

Hasse is no stranger to Roskilde Vineyard as he has on occasion led music and preached there. Now, the Lord has called Hasse and Gitte to move to Roskilde and to minister to this congregation. There are many challenges ahead, but God will use Hasse and Gitte’s ministry gifts to build on the foundation that David and Solvej have labored to lay these past several years. The pastoral couple will be formally installed to their new charge at the Sunday, May 3 service.

Church planting anywhere is a difficult and draining experience and no less in Denmark. As planters of the new Vineyard in Roskilde, David and Solvej have given of themselves joyfully and sacrificially and have expended their energies selflessly to pastor the new work. Both have had to maintain secular employment in order to plant and pastor the church. In a sense they have burned the candle at both ends and have experienced fatigue and some burnout maintaining such a schedule. It was frustrating for them to not be able to have the time for more extensive evangelism and outreach. Now, in the goodness of the Lord they have stepped back without stepping out as they together with another couple, Carsten and Monika Lund, continue to be a part of the church’s leadership team.

David and Solvej have lost none of their commitment to serve the Lord. They need rest and a diminished schedule for some months in order to retool for wherever He leads for future ministry. I believe they can effectively use their experience of church planting in another city in Denmark.

PRAISE God for David and Solvej Allen’s willingness to give of themselves so unstintingly to plant Roskilde Vineyard church.

PRAY for God’s anointing, empowerment, and wisdom on the lives and ministry of Hasse and Gitte as they relieve David and Solvej of overall responsibility and take up their work with Roskilde Vineyard.

that Hasse and Gitte’s three daughters will be able to make an easy transition to a new home and schools.

PRAY that the members and attenders at Roskilde Vineyard will enthusiastically support the new pastoral couple and together discover, join and utilize their spiritual gifts for ministry.

that God will provide needed rest for David and Solvej and in His timing make His will known clearly for their future ministry.

Friday, March 27, 2009

God's Spirit is at Work in Denmark

While in my view the overall spiritual condition of Denmark is rather grim and the need for genuine revival very great, such an assessment isn’t the whole picture. We must not forget that the Spirit of God often works in ways that are not always immediately discernible. He is working quietly but decisively in various ways in Denmark, of that I am certain. It is my firm conviction that revival in Denmark would have to have a major influence on Denmark’s Lutherans. Though the Folkekirke is culturally embedded in Danish society, it seems to have little impact on the spiritual lives of the increasingly secularized nation.

And yet, God never leaves Himself without a witness. It would be tragically irresponsible to ignore the fact that there are Danish Lutherans who love the Lord and who long for and pray constantly for revival. I have met some of them and have been impressed by their earnestness and genuine faith. A trusted Danish friend of this webpage recently wrote that “there IS something encouraging going on in Denmark––a network of God-fearing Lutherans who have good theology but want more of the movement of the Spirit and who recognize people’s need to be born again.” These God-fearing Lutherans are connected in a network of new local churches and fellowships through Dansk Oase Netværk ( Dansk Oase is a Lutheran charismatic renewal movement. The new congregations are variously called “Valmenigheder” [or fælleskab or frimenighed]. All are in some way different or “edgy” in contrast to the more formalistic Folkekirke congregations and are more open to contemporary forms of praise and worship. They are growing and demonstrate that there are Danes who do indeed hunger and thirst after righteousness and a seek a vital, personal faith in Christ.

There is a large, healthy Valmenighed church in Århus (, and one that just opened in Copenhagen last November and understand it already has over 100 members. It is most encouraging to see what God is doing through these groups. It all started at Karlslunde Strandkirke ( that had a God-fearing, level-headed charismatic pastor back in the seventies by the name of Helge Pahus. He was responsible for the Alpha course coming to Denmark. Pastor Pahus is now retired, though still active in ministry. During his years of ministry, Pastor Pahus has built a lot of bridges to revival and renewal movements around the world and his influence is felt strongly in Danish charismatic Lutheran circles.

The Valmenighed congregations in various places in Denmark constitute a new and genuine church planting experience of which we have been too little aware. All are connected in some way with the Oase revival movement. To mention a few, there are now congregations and fellowships in Odder, Kolding, Silkeborg, Vejle, Aalborg, and elsewhere, and the list is growing. The terms Valmenighed and Frimenighed are not exclusive to the Oase Network as there are other Lutheran revival groups that also use them. The more I look into it I am finding there are many dimensions to Danish Lutheranism and writing about Oase I am not unmindful of the testimony through the decades of other Lutheran revival organizations, including Indre Mission, Nyt Liv, Luthersk Missionsforening, and Evangelisk Lutherske Missionsforening, some of which also have planted free Lutheran congregations.

If God was able to raise the Lord Jesus from the dead, He can also bring revival to spiritually dead Denmark. If I didn’t believe that I would shut down the Pray for Denmark website. No major revival in history has ever occurred without a barrage of prayer behind it. In some small way it is my hope that we are a part of that barrage of prayer and why we should be praying for the outreach of Oase throughout Denmark. That’s why Brad and I pray doggedly for the land of my ancestors and urge you to join us as well.

PRAISE God for the encouraging evidences of the Holy Spirit’s work in Denmark through the Oase revival movement.

PRAY for the Oase movement to continue to exert its influence for revival and renewal throughout Denmark without itself becoming overly institutionalized.

for the planting of new Oase-related Lutheran congregations throughout Denmark that will provide a resurgence of evangelism calling Danes to repentance and personal faith in Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Baptistkirken i Danmark

Baptist work has existed in Denmark for 170 years. In fact, the Baptists constituted the first free church in Denmark outside the Folkekirke, Denmark’s Lutheran state church. Today there are fifty Baptist congregations throughout the country with a total of 5260 members, making it still Denmark’s largest free church denomination. The Baptists have been and continue to be an important part of Denmark’s community of free churches.

As might be expected, the Baptist churches have throughout their history had their highs and lows in spiritual power and effectiveness. Understandably, it is difficult for any denomination to maintain a consistently high level of spiritual power and evangelistic thrust over 170 years. Succeeding generations more often than not lose some of the fire and joyful spiritual energy their fathers experienced in coming to Christ. Periodic revivals are needed.

The earliest years of Baptist work were marked by extensive evangelism and the planting of new churches. Converts came to faith through sound preaching of the Word of God. Their fervor of witness to the liberating gospel of Christ brought persecution but also a spread of their witness throughout the country. The aging of the denomination and a settling in of its organization and traditions seemed to sap the spiritual power the first generations had known. In the 20th century, the coming of the charismatic (Pentecostal) movement to Denmark caused a fair number of Baptist leaders and lay folk to switch allegiances. Some leaders in the Pentecostal and new charismatic denominations were formerly a part of the Baptist churches. Some of the Baptist churches have adopted charismatic theology and worship practices while others have not. The denomination has gone through some tough times theologically and organizationally and even at present is experiencing some leadership problems. It is not my place to delve into the details of controversy, but Baptists are at a crossroads. I am concerned that now is the time for a sweeping revival and renewal throughout the Baptist churches in Denmark that would renew and reinvigorate their ministries.

I have a great appreciation for Danish Baptists. Myself an American of Danish descent, I was ordained to the gospel ministry by a Conservative Baptist church. My first contact with Danish Baptists was in 1952 at Copenhagen’s Kristuskirken. Pastor Thomsen greeted me and discovered that I was a Conservative Baptist missionary on my way to the Belgian Congo. He knew something of Conservative Baptist origins and said warmly, “I don’t have to ask you what you believe. I know.” He then invited me to speak in the church. That was a never-to-be-forgotten experience. I found Pastor Thomsen to be a man of God with a real heart for the gospel of Christ. My last trip to Denmark three years ago introduced me to several more Baptist churches and I met a number of Baptist friends in Viborg and Aalborg who were so warmly welcoming and hospitable.

I don’t know the reasons behind Danish Baptists’ current discussions and difficulties, but, I do know there is need for a sweeping movement of the Spirit of God to bring genuine cleansing and renewal. Pray earnestly with us for the Baptists in Denmark! Revival and renewal will not come merely through improved organization, but it will come to churches and believers that surrender to the restorative work of the Holy Spirit through confession of sin and repentance that are always prime ingredients in spiritual revival.

PRAY that a series of regional meetings of Danish Baptists to be held in the following locations in March and April will evidence the cleansing, restorative presence and power of the Holy Spirit, repair of broken relationships, unity amongst leaders and churches, and renewed commitment to evangelism and church planting:

Monday, March 30, 7:00-9:30 p.m., at Roskilde Baptist Church
Tuesday, March 31, 7:00-9:30 p.m., at Odense Baptist Church
Wednesday, April 1, 7:00-9:30 p.m., at Vårst Baptist Church,

West-Himmerlands congregation
Thursday, April 2, 7:00-9:30 p.m., at Silkeborg Baptist Church
Friday, April 3, 7:00-9:30 p.m., at Sindal Baptist Church.

PRAY that God will provide effective, Spirit-filled leadership for several of the Baptist churches that are currently without pastoral leadership.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Good News from Tønder

The southern Jutland town of Tønder, located not far from the border with Germany, has been mentioned several times in Pray for, especially in relation to the famed Tønder music festival (see the August 17, 2008 prayer posting).

In March of 2006 when I made a trip to Denmark the first persons I met were Pastor René Nielsen and his lovely wife Mette. Pastor Nielsen is pastor of the Tønder Frikirke, in dual association with the Apostolsk Kirke and the Pinse Kirke denominations. I was not with the Nielsens for long, but long enough to sense their burden for the city and the need for the church to move forward in some new directions. Pastor Nielsen and I had a wonderful time around the breakfast table praying for a breakthrough in the work. Before I moved on to Sønderborg, he showed me around the church building located in the center of town. It appeared to me at the time that it was not a building that would lend itself well to substantial growth. It was rather small and very lacking in space that would foster growth.

I have continued to pray for Tønder as I am sure Pastor Nielsen and Mette and the church itself have done faithfully. It was such a delight recently to have an email message from Pastor Nielsen that communicated some of the great excitement and gratitude he and the church are experiencing at what God is doing for the Tønder work. First off, the old church building has been sold and a new location has been found for Tønder Frikirke that hopefully will have all of the features needed for a significant outreach in the community and surrounding area.

Getting the leaders and members of the church to come to agreement about sale of the building was not an easy one. As often happens in significant change for a church, some were not fully convinced that now was the right time to sell and move. The resulting tension can have a negative effect on a church’s future and ministry. However, the Lord intervened in a wonderful way. He used an elderly woman member who stood up in a congregational meeting and said prophetically, “God has spoken to break up and move on, and I think we should do so.” One by one the members of the congregation stood up and agreed with this dear lady to sell the old building and look for a new site. As Pastor Nielsen puts it, “Within two months everything had been done. God had a prepared the way and now the old building has been sold and we have bought a new one. Praise God! Now we have several months in which to renovate the new building before moving into it on April 1.” The Lord has not forgotten Tønder! Frikirke and He is on the move.

A significant evidence of God’s blessing is the church’s revived children’s ministry. There were hardly any children in the church, but now acting on what Pastor Nielsen and the church felt was God’s direction there is contact and ministry with about 40 kids and their families. Every Wednesday there are after-school meetings where workers help the kids with their homework, followed by a Royal Rangers meeting and ending in a time of eating together with the kids and their parents. The net result is a marked increase in the number of people now attending the worship services.

At the beginning of 2008, René was asked to help with the reorganization of a Danish humanitarian organization. Ultimately he was left with the major responsibility and has had a lot of work of rebuilding and reorganizing. He is now the head of the organization that needs to reestablish its Christian foundations. This plus the new developments with the Tønder church are keeping him very busy and using up a lot of his energies. It is important for church members to him and to involve themselves heavily in the renovation of the new property.

Pastor Nielsen writes, “Thank you for your prayers. Please continue to pray for us.” Let's agree to do so.

PRAISE God for answers to prayer in the sale of Tønder Frikirke’s less than adequate facilities and the congregation’s unity in responding to the Lord’s provision of a new and more adequate location for ministry.

PRAY that Pastor Nielsen’s health and strength will not be eroded because of the heavy schedule he carries these days with local church responsibilities as well as time-consuming leadership involvement with a Danish humanitarian organization.

PRAY that the members and attenders of Tønder Frikirke will go through this time of change with renewed vision, commitment and unity and that the move to a new building will open up as yet unrealized possibilities for evangelistic outreach in the community.

PRAY that the Lord will use the renewed children’s ministry as a fruitful means of evangelistic outreach with many coming to faith in Jesus Christ and those already believers standing firm and maturing in the faith, using their spiritual gifts in ministry.

PRAY that Pastor Nielsen’s influence and leadership in the humanitarian organization will help return it to its previous Christian foundations.