Sunday, September 15, 2013

Good Hope in Godthåb

Define church planting in Denmark, and you inevitably find dedicated couples like Mikael and Hanna Thomsen.

If you know where to look.

Like many small church plants, they meet in a living room – a setting they’re gladly outgrowing. For Mikael and Hanna, growth means finding a new place for their congregation, a place they have not yet located – and which they likely cannot yet afford. Since both of them necessarily must keep working their full-time jobs, they also struggle to find time for the growing needs of a growing congregation.

Yet those are good problems, the kind of challenges most church planters dream of. That doesn’t make it any easier for the fledgling reformed Baptist congregation in the village of Godthåb, some 10 kilometers south of Aalborg in northern Jylland. (See map here.) The Thomsens started “Nordkirken” (The North Church) last year as an outgrowth of a larger Baptist congregation in Bjerringbro, about 80 kilometers away.

What is on Mikael’s prayer list today?

“We need wisdom in leading the church and keeping it healthy,” he tells Pray for Denmark. “We have a desire to reach the lost in our village, and we need wisdom in our approach to evangelism.”

Right now the small congregation meets twice a month in Mikael and Hannah’s home to worship and share a meal, and at least once a month for Bible study. They’re obviously serious about applying God’s Word to their lives together, serious about reaching out to the community around them.

They’re also dedicated to a serious church measuring tool called “9Marks,” which Mikael says helps to define success apart from statistics or emotional descriptions. To churches like Nordkirken, 9Marks provides a Biblical context to issues like salvation, discipleship, theology, and leadership.

Of course there is much more to be done in Godthåb, but the town’s name (translated “Good Hope”) seems apt. As Mikael says, “There are always challenges in such a start-up process.”

PRAY for Mikael and Hanna as they make new contacts and friends in Godthåb. PRAY for wisdom and protection.

PRAY that others will find the new church, and come to know Christ as a result.

PRAY that Nordkirken will find a new, larger place to meet, and for the funds to make their new place a reality.

PRAY for other small church start-ups like Nordkirken, scattered throughout the country.  

PRAY that God will reach many hearts through these new beginnings, and that a tidal swell of faithful small churches will continue to grow.

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