Saturday, January 31, 2015

2015: Year of the Danish Street Church?

They’re not waiting for people to come to church. More and more Danes are venturing out into the streets to pray for strangers and share their faith.

One example: Mona and Bo Henriksen, who came to faith only a few years ago, but who now join other “street disciples” three days a week on the streets of København.

“Many of those we meet are open to the gospel,” says Bo, “but they’re not at all motivated to attend church. So we meet them on the street and pray for social, practical, or physical needs. On the deepest level, we put ourselves at the disposal of the Holy Spirit, as lights in the darkness.”

It’s somewhat unusual to find Danish Christians taking this approach. But the Henriksens and their friends aren’t afraid to be noticed in their neon green vests printed with “Gadekirken,” or “Street Church.”

And the growing movement is drawing from a wide spectrum of churches in and around the city, including Apostolic and Pentecostal churches, but also Betlehemskirken, the Adventists, Vintræet (Vinetree Church), Gospel Church, and Københavns Bibeltrænings Center.

“We’ve prayed for thousands of people up to now,” says Bo, “and we’ve seen people healed. But the more of us there are, the more people we can reach out to.”

PRAY for the Street Church movement, that God would reach many more hearts in the year to come -- and that they would find church homes in which to grow as disciples.

PRAY for more volunteers from an even wider variety of fellowships, both free churches and state churches, and that God would use this to knit together His church in Denmark.

PRAY also that the Street Church would encourage believers across the country to reach out in the love of Christ to people where they are -- on the street and beyond.

PRAY that the Street Church would remain focused on Jesus.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Growing Pains (the Good Kind)

They’re moving to larger quarters because they’ve outgrown their old buildings. And that’s good news for two Danish Lutheran “free” fellowships – the Københavnerkirken and Nordvestkirken. 

“Our location in a school in Amager (southeast Copenhagen) was ultimately too small,” explained Torben Østermark, a member of the church who also works with Open Air Campaigners in Denmark. “So for quite a while we’ve been looking for something larger and more centrally located in Copenhagen.”

Their prayers were answered late last fall, when a gathering of some 275 worshippers held their first service in the Bethesda church building, near the Nørreport train station, downtown. It’s a central location that positions the outward-focused group to grow even more. Their published mission? “Sent to the world as disciples, who win disciples.”

“We’re especially pleased that many have come to know Jesus in the recent years,” said Østermark.

Nordvestkirken had also outgrown their facilities, and that fellowship was able to buy the vacated Utterslev Lutheran church building in Copenhagen’s north end. It’s a good-sized building for the fellowship to grow into. But even without a pastor, they continue to draw new members and seekers to contemporary services and family-friendly teaching.

Both churches are prime examples of independent churches that maintain cultural connection to the historic Danish faith, without formal ties to or dependence on state church leadership.

PRAISE God for the faithfulness of believers at Københavnerkirken and Nordvestkirken! And…

PRAY for these two strategic fellowships, that Christ would continue to be held high and that many new seekers would be drawn to faith here.

PRAY for the pastoral staff at Københavnerkirken, including pastor Claus Grønbæk and the rest of the leadership team. Pray that they would continue to have a heart for reaching their community in the name of Jesus.

PRAY ALSO that members of Nordvestkirken would continue to grow in their interim, and that God would bring just the right leadership, in his time.

PRAY that God would raise up and revive even more Danish churches like Københavnerkirken and Nordvestkirken.