Monday, October 28, 2013

A New, Danish Vision for Reaching Students

We’ve been praying for unity and revival in Aalborg, but here’s yet another angle: Aalborg is a university city, with some 30,000 students -- nearly 30 percent of the city’s population! About 4,500 are international students.

Those students represent a huge mission field, especially as new international students arrived this fall. And an initiative called “Aalborg International Friends” is working to reach them in the name of Christ.

The group has two main goals: to serve as a bridge between international and Danish students, and to provide a safe place where international students can learn more about Jesus.

They’ve already sponsored a welcome event. After a talent show in October, they’re now planning a Thanksgiving dinner in November and a Christmas celebration in December. Keep those events in prayer.

Three Aalborg churches support the movement: Bethelkirken (Baptist) and its Koinonia International Fellowship, the Apostolsk (Apostolic) Kirke, and Frikirken International Church. American Lee Hanson serves as international pastor at Bethelkirken (see previous post, 10/20/13), while Ruth and Martin Mutale from Zambia work with Danish student pastor Henrik Holmgaard in the Apostolsk Kirke. Paul Conrad and Kelvin Sam work together at Frikirken.

All of these leaders need our prayer as they help Danish and international students discover direction and purpose in life.

And one more thing: The Aalborg Christian Student Network is a work in progress. In the formative stages, they’re looking for student leaders to step up, and for local churches to catch a vision for reaching out to the considerable student population. Says Lee Hanson, “We need wisdom as we (pastors, churches, and students) walk together, seeking God's direction and power to accomplish this.” 

PRAY for bridges to be built between Danish and international students, and that the churches will step in to provide those bridges. 

PRAY for Aalborg International Friends, and for the success of each of their holiday outreach events. 

PRAY that God will raise up student leadership in the newly forming Aalborg Christian Student Network, and that churches will join them, as well. 

PRAY for revival among Danish and international students in Aalborg!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Aalborg: What's Going On?

Why is the church growing in Aalborg, Denmark’s fourth largest city? For a clue, look at who’s praying. And one of the key factors may be an ongoing spirit of cooperation among leaders from several different Bible-believing denominations throughout the city.

Lee Hanson
Lee Hanson, who serves as a pastor for the English-speaking International Christian Fellowship in Aalborg’s Baptistkirken Bethel, says church leaders have been meeting every Friday morning for several years to pray and encourage each other. For two hours each week, they gather around the four B’s -- Brødre, Bibel, Bøn, and By (Brothers, Bible, Prayer, City). Together they’ll read a chapter of Scripture and share in small groups before praying for each other, their churches, and for their city of 107,000 residents.

Despite the variety of denominational backgrounds -- or perhaps because of it -- these believers in Aalborg agree that Christ has only one church.

“The desire is to experience in our working together that unity in Christ,” explains Hanson, “and as Christ is proclaimed, many in Aalborg will hear, believe, and confess Jesus is Lord.”

A key verse for these pastors is 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people… will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

In Aalborg they’re taking that promise seriously, so keep your eye on what’s happening there. In the year to come, these pastors will all encourage their members to join in 40 days of prayer and Bible reading, leading up to a community-wide Easter celebration at Aalborg’s striking new concert hall, the House of Music.

With that kind of unity, and with that kind of prayer, what could happen next?

PRAY for continued and growing unity among Christians in Aalborg.

PRAY that believers in the city will learn to work together even more, reaching out to win their neighbors to Christ.

PRAY that the 40 days of prayer and Bible reading in the spring may spark revival in the city and draw an overflow crowd to the city-wide Easter celebration.

PRAY for Aalborg!

Sunday, October 06, 2013

From Concert Hall to God’s Hall

This fall, Aalborg Citykirke is reaching out in a new way to the unchurched and those who aren’t used to formal church services by setting up “Open Café Church” in the city’s well-known concert hall -- Skråen in Nordkraft.

Of course Aalborg residents are used to hearing everything from opera to rock concerts in the familiar public venue. But this is something new. With seating and tables for 450, there’s plenty of room for families and children, who are welcomed with refreshments and a music program they call “Familieguf” (Family Treats). After the first half hour, children are directed to the concert hall’s upstairs playground, while adults continue through the afternoon with singing, faith stories, and sharing from the Scriptures.

It’s an experiment; three concert hall outreach services are planned through the autumn months. Church members are hoping to offer an especially welcoming atmosphere where guests are free to come as they are. Citykirke leadership is also hoping this kind of worship service will point to Jesus, while prompting visitors to get to know him better.

“It’s all about being the church where people are, and not just in one place, in one building,” says Citykirke pastor Carsten Jensen. “And I think our musicians, singers, and co-workers look forward to the change of pace, to meeting new people in new places.”

PRAY for this outreach, that many people who would never enter a more traditional church might be drawn to faith in Christ in this informal setting.

PRAY for the regular attenders at Citykirke, that their vision would grow even more as they reach out to their neighbors in new ways.

PRAY for revival at Aalborg Citykirke, that God would make Himself known there and that many would come to recognize their need for the Savior of their city.

PRAY for co-pastors Carsten Jensen and Dan Jacobi, for courage to continue seeking God in new ways in their ministry there.