Saturday, November 25, 2017

Expanding the vineyard, times three

Vineyard fellowships in Denmark are on a church-planting spree, sending out families and starting three new churches in the past year—in Aarhus, Rønne (Bornholm Island), and Aalborg.

Thomas and Inge Willer
The new Aarhus Vineyard held their first worship service last spring, with 120 in attendance. Like the others, that group is an offshoot of the Vineyard in Copenhagen, which itself got its start in 1997. The new Vineyard fellowship is being planted by Anne and Simon Walsøe, along with others from their sending church.

During the summer, Assistant Pastor Helle Rønne Samuelson and his family (also from the Copenhagen church) moved to the island of Bornholm to help plant a Vineyard church there. That church is already well on its way and growing.

And if that wasn’t enough, Inge and Thomas Willer, formerly of the Regen Church in Copenhagen, recently moved their family to Denmark’s fourth-largest city (Aalborg) to plant a Vineyard church there.

“We love Regen,” says Thomas Willer, “which we started 13 years ago with a fantastic group of people. But in the course of the last year and a half to two years we’ve had the impression that there’s a new season coming for us as a family. We’re excited, nervous, a little concerned, sorry to leave church, family, and friends—but we’re also enthusiastic about the adventure that God is calling us to.”

Vineyard churches in Denmark have been on a growth spurt in the past five years, with six fellowships established beyond Copenhagen: in Roskilde, Rønne, Køge, Odense, Aarhus, and Aalborg. Membership across the country in these churches is about 1,000, with some 600 of those in Copenhagen.

Their emphasis on outreach and church planting continues.

PRAY for the leadership in these three new churches, that they would be open to God’s leadership, that they would remain in the truth, and that they would be encouraged daily.

PRAY for many Danes to come to faith and for spiritual growth in these churches.

PRAY for the Rønne Vineyard vision evening, planned for January 3, that people would hear of the dream for Bornholm, and that many would be inspired to join what God is doing there.

PRAY for revival to spread throughout Denmark as these (and other!) churches grow in their vision and multiply according to God’s plan.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Meeting God at the Café

They eat waffles. They play ping-pong. And they’ll be introduced to Jesus.

The decorations are up and snacks are on the table in the basement meeting room of a new Christian youth outreach in Aarhus, Denmark’s second-largest city. With the opening of the Crash Café last month, teens now have a place to hang out every other Friday evening and learn more about faith.

It’s staffed by volunteers and co-sponsored by Aarhus IMU (the youth ministry of the Indre Mission renewal movement) and Aarhus Bykirke (City Church). Rikke Lodberg Pedersen is one of the leaders.

“We have teen clubs in Aarhus,” she said, “but not a café. I hope it will be a relaxed place where everyone can feel welcome.”

In typical Danish fashion, there’s an emphasis on “hygge” at the new café, with wall murals, game tables, and furniture to give it a warm, cozy atmosphere. Ultimately it’s a place where teens with questions about life and faith can meet (slightly) older believers who are willing to share their lives.

“It’s going to be a café on their terms,” said Pedersen, “and they’ll be able to talk to us leaders and with each other about whatever is happening in their lives.”

Opening night was September 15, from 7 to 10 p.m.

PRAY for the success of this new youth outreach, that spiritual conversations would lead to changed lives.

PRAY for the leaders, that God would continue to draw dedicated volunteers who will model what following Jesus looks like.

PRAY for the resources needed to continue and expand this strategic outreach to teens. They may have no other contact with Christians in their city.

PRAY for revival to break out among teens who will come to know Christ through this café.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

A new Christian college

Last February, we prayed for students at some of the leading Christian colleges across Denmark—including those in Børkop, Kolding, and Mariager. Now there’s a serious movement to establish a Christian college in the Copenhagen area, and it needs our prayer support.

Hovedstadens Kristne Gymnasium (Capital City Christian College) is signing up students now, and hopes to offer its first classes by summer of 2018. Of course, there’s a lot to accomplish between now and then. Besides students, they’ll need facilities, faculty, administration, and more.

But schools like this one are crucial in a post-Christian society like Denmark. This will become an outpost where the Bible will be taken as God’s word, and where young believers can grow in their faith. 

HKGYM, as they’re calling it, will be a privately run, strategic training center for the Lord. We’ll update as more details develop. Meanwhile, they’re asking for prayer as they search for a rector—a key leadership position.

PRAY for the planning committee, for their vision and wisdom as they set up an exciting new program there.

PRAY for the right leader to be found, for a talented and godly rector.

PRAY that God will touch the hearts of students who will start next summer, and bring many more who need to know and grow in the Lord.

PRAY that God will bring revival in Denmark through the students, faculty, and staff at HKGYM!

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Worship musik finds a new home

For the past several years, God has been moving in the hearts of Danish Christian musicians, giving them a heart for worship as never before and bringing a lively new style of worship into churches across the land. But it hasn’t always been easy for believers to share their music ("musik" in Danish) from church to church.

Today that’s changing, with the help of a new online tool that gives Danish worship leaders much broader access to a growing body of contemporary Danish worship music. Even the smallest churches in the most remote villages can sing along.

Take a look at and imagine you’re a small-town Danish volunteer worship leader, low on resources but full of God-breathed desire to glorify the Lord and share worship with your congregation.

Now you can quickly search for new songs to sing at your next service. Learn the history of the song, and who wrote it. Listen to the songs being performed. And with the right permissions in place, you can even print out song sheets and chords in a variety of keys.

Benjamin Hougaard, music leader for Denmark’s Indre Mission renewal ministry, unveiled the site last month. He envisions it as a support and time-saver for worship leaders across Denmark.

To be sure, the little country has always enjoyed a strong heritage of hymns and Christian music (Danes love to sing!), but this is an another encouraging step in a new direction. 

PRAISE God for this new way of sharing some of the best worship music in Denmark. 

PRAY for busy worship leaders in Denmark, especially for those in young and struggling fellowships where support and encouragement is needed. 

PRAY for the growth of, that many more God-honoring songs would be added and made available to churches across the country. 

PRAY for revival across Denmark, that God would touch hearts through all kinds of music, and that the focus would be on Jesus—lifted up in new songs.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The flame spreads

If you’ve been praying for Denmark for a while, you may recall a prayer movement in Djursland, a hilly Danish peninsula facing Sweden at the entrance to the Baltic Sea. (See Pray for Denmark, January 2016.)

This is exciting: Now that prayer movement is spreading throughout Denmark, as 1,300 people of all ages met earlier this month for the annual meeting of the Indre Mission renewal movement. At the close of their meeting, they banded together in small groups to pray for the entire country. In typical Danish fashion, the prayer time featured “Pray for Djursland” prayer candles, as reminders to remain faithful and keep praying for their land.

“Since we started praying for Djursland,” said Indre Mission missionary Egild Kildeholm Jensen, “I’ve started looking, anticipating how God will answer. . .  Many need to hear the Gospel.”

As Jensen shared examples of how God has answered prayer in individual lives during the past year, he explained how prayer itself is a sign of God’s work.

“When we pray,” he said, “it’s a reaction to God knocking on the door. So the fires of prayer for Djursland. . . show that it’s God who is knocking, because he loves this place.”

At the end of the meeting, the prayer flame was symbolically given to several attendees who represented different areas of their small country. Everyone also left with blue reminder ribbons printed with “Prayer for Denmark.”

PRAY that the fire of revival will light from these prayers, spreading throughout Denmark in a powerful new way.

PRAY for these faithful believers, concerned for their country and for the salvation of their neighbors, that they would boldly and compassionately share the light of Christ.

PRAY that many Danes would come to know the Light of the world, Jesus himself, in coming weeks, as a result of these prayers.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

A Great Problem

It’s a good problem to have, and one not many Danish churches have yet experienced. But at Aalborg Citykirke, Sunday services have been so well-attended, the only alternative was to move to two identical services -- one at 10:30, and the other at 6:30 Sunday evening.

Multiple services began March 5. And for the time being, church leaders feel this is the best solution for the building where they’ve been meeting for the past 43 years. (Citykirken turns 91 this year.) Ultimately, they’d like to find a larger facility.

“Our dream building would have at least 500 seats,” says lead pastor Dan Jacobi, “plenty of room for all our other weekly activities. I’m sure we’ll find it someday, but until then we need to find other solutions to make room for everyone.”

Citykirken had been averaging 300 in attendance every week. Outside of Sunday services, the church organizes youth outreaches, Alpha outreach to those curious about Christianity, a café ministry, and more.

PRAY for the ministry of Aalborg Citykirke, that God would bless them in their move to two services.

PRAY for the continued growth of the church, in numbers and in discipleship.

PRAY that many more would come to know Christ through Aalborg Citykirke.

PRAY for the leadership of the church, for wisdom as they face new challenges.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Surprise in Aarhus

Will anyone show up if you try to start a new church in today’s skeptical, secular, sophisticated Denmark?

Surprise! They did.

In fact, leaders of the new Vineyard church in Aarhus said they were “completely blown away” when 120 first-time visitors arrived for their inaugural worship gathering March 19. Even more encouraging is that a large portion of those visitors had been invited by family and friends, and had rarely -- if ever -- attended church before.

“Our biggest hope and dream is to be the church for those who aren’t used to going to church,” explains Simon Walsøe, who recently moved to the city with his wife Anne to help organize the new outreach. “I think most Danes believe that they need to have their lives completely in order before they can go to church. That they have to know exactly what they believe, and live up to certain rules or morals. But for us, church is actually the opposite -- where all are welcome, a place where we’re all in process together.”

Simon and Anne have planned two followup services, for March 26 and April 2. From there they aim to establish small groups that will meet regularly throughout the city, and then re-gather every three or four weeks as a larger group. After the summer they hope they’ll all be ready to meet for weekly worship.

“We believe Jesus is here with us in this fellowship,” says Simon, “and that it is him who transforms a person’s life. At Aarhus Vineyard there is room for everyone.”

PRAY for the new Aarhus Vineyard fellowship, that God will especially draw unchurched and unsaved people to explore faith in Jesus Christ.

PRAY for the April 2 large gathering, that many more will attend and that they will be drawn to faith and fellowship in small groups through the summer.

PRAY for Simon and Anne Walsøe, that God would bless their church-planting ministry in this needy city.

PRAY for revival to spread throughout Aarhus through this new church … and many others.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

When church gets messy

For Danes on Bornholm Island who aren’t used to sitting through a traditional church service, there’s a new option: Messy Church. 

Designed to attract a broader spectrum of ages in a Bible-based gathering, Messy Church is perfect for kids and their parents, seekers and believers. Missionary Palle Kure of the Lutheran Indre Mission leads the outreach.

“At Messy Church we drop in for a cup of coffee,” says Palle. “Then there are activities, a game, a discussion group, or another activity. Afterwards there’s a Bible story and then we eat together.”

Not your typical church service. And while there’s very little of the kind of preaching where one person stands up and speaks, Palle says Messy Church preaching “is like a red thread through everything that happens.”

So this type of church brings together people of all ages, with no prerequisites, and introduces them to biblical truth. And Palle says they’re seeing new families join them every time they meet. 

PRAY for Messy Church, that more and more unchurched families on the island would discover Christ in these gatherings. 

PRAY for Palle Kure and others in leadership, for wisdom and courage to share the love of God with those who need to know him. 

PRAY that God would draw families together in new ways through Messy Church. 

PRAY for revival to spread through the Messy Church, throughout Bornholm Island and beyond to the rest of Denmark.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Praying for college students

Since 1823, Christians in the United States have set aside the last Thursday in February to pray for students in American colleges and universities. As students go, so goes a nation. So this is a good time to pray for students in Danish higher education, as well -- both in secular schools and in the small number of Christian institutions.

This time let’s focus on the Christian schools, some of which we’ve earlier featured in Pray For Denmark:

1.     Børkop Højskole, a leading Christian college affiliated with Denmark’s Indre Mission.
2.     Kolding Internationale Højskole, also known as the International Apostolic Bible College.
3.     The Luthersk Missions Højskole, founded on the revivals of the late nineteenth century. (And yes, that was a long time ago. We’re overdue for a new round of revival.)
4.     Mariager Højskole, the Danish Pentecostal Bible College.
5.     There’s also a movement toward opening a new Christian college in Copenhagen.

And that’s just a start. Students at these schools are looking for a Bible-based education, some for shorter terms, but all with an eye toward preparing to serve God in a secular society and world. They need our prayers. 

PRAY for each student attending these Christian colleges this term, that God would give them a renewed thirst for the truth in God’s Word. 

PRAY that God would draw students to a deeper spiritual walk, in class and out. 

PRAY for the faculty and staff in these schools, for wisdom and support as they reach out to the next generation. 

PRAY that God would send a fresh wave of revival through the students, that they would lead the nation toward God. 

REMEMBER to pray for revival in Denmark’s colleges and universities on Thursday, February 23.  

Monday, January 16, 2017

Still on the street in 2017

Two years ago this month, we wrote about an exciting cross-denominational movement in the capital of Copenhagen called Gadekirken, or the “Street Church.” Led by Bo and Mona Henriksen, the movement still sends out teams to pray with and for anyone they meet, for both physical and spiritual needs.

Now they’re eager to expand the vision, but there’s an obstacle.

“Our dream is to take on new parts of the city,” they write, “but we lack co-workers.”

It’s a common challenge among Christian ministries. About 30 believers are currently involved in Gadekirken, from free churches and state churches. That’s remarkable in itself. Still, Bo and Mona hope for even more to join the movement, and that those volunteers will recognize God’s power in their lives.

“May 2017 be the year where God has even more space and latitude to work through us,” they say, “where we persistently hold fast to his promises about the authority of the believers.”

At the same time, Bo and Mona remain clear on what they’re all about:

“We’re passionate about reaching out to even more Danes to tell them about the cross. The mission isn’t to manipulate people to believe, but that they clearly understand they’re sinners.

“We’re completely absorbed in God’s will, which is for ‘all people to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.’ ” (1 Tim. 2:4)

PRAY for Bo and Mona in the coming year, that God would continue to give them a passion and vision for reaching Denmark with the gospel of Christ.

PRAY for Gadekirken’s cross-denominational teams, that the unity they experience would serve as an example for the churches they represent.

PRAY for relief and protection as the teams venture out and seek opportunities to pray and share.

PRAY for more workers, starting in the central city, to the outskirts, and beyond.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

What's that Voice?

A new voice in the Danish church is spreading the word on Facebook, YouTube, and online. It’s beginning to spur the Danish church to wake up and get serious about spreading the Gospel. And it’s called “RedningensRøst,” or “Salvation’s Voice.”

The Voice recently came out with a series of interviews, asking Danish church leaders what they think is the Danish church’s greatest strengths -- and greatest weaknesses.  What do young Danish Christians need to know?

One prominent young church planter, Jesper Jeppesen, gave an optimistic perspective: “I think there’s starting to be more fire in the (Danish) church than we’ve seen in a number of years,” he told the Voice. “The upcoming generation really just has a heart for Jesus, and they want to see a change. I think one of our greatest strengths is that they don’t accept the status quo, and that they really do want to see God’s kingdom. They’re willing to pay the price.”

That’s a jumping-off point for Redningens Røst, with street interviews, arguments for creation, lively challenges, and more. Its four young founders aren’t afraid to tackle apologetics, postmodernism, or tough questions -- all from a vibrant, outgoing Christian perspective. Their passion is not only to give voice to the truth of Jesus, but to encourage and show others how to live out and share their faith, as well.

It’s the kind of witness that will no doubt shake things up… and that’s a good thing.

PRAY for Redningens Røst: David, Philip, Simon, and Nikolai. Ask God to give them continued courage, wisdom, and insight as they challenge the Danish church to come alive.

PRAY that God’s Spirit would work through the videos and online, not only to encourage believers, but to draw more people into the Kingdom of God.

PRAY for continued creativity and effectiveness in new Voice videos.

PRAY that God would use this cutting-edge ministry to help bring revival and awakening in Denmark.