Sunday, December 09, 2018

From small beginnings

Pray for the year-old Thisted Bykirke (Thisted City Church) fellowship of rural northwest Denmark, where Isak Holm has just been hired as their first pastor. They’re optimistic about the future and excited to see what God is doing in that community.

“When you ask what we’re happy about,” says the congregation’s lay chairman, Thomas Boelskifte, “well, every Sunday is a joy. It’s great to see how many are engaged in the church, and who want to be a part of building it up.”

The fellowship is associated with Denmark’s “Valgmenighed” alternative Lutheran churches, as well as the Inner Mission renewal movement. Forty to 90 gather every other week to worship at the rented Inner Mission house in Thisted.

“We meet for brunch, coffee, or dinner,” Boelskifte explains. “We’ve seen there’s a need for that, and 45 minutes to an hour before the worship time begins, people begin showing up to chat. It’s wonderful.”

Even so, the young fellowship faces challenges, including many of the same challenges facing small Bible-believing fellowships that are beginning to spring up all over the country. After all, many Danes are not used to this kind of church.

“The challenge is that people will still show up when the newness wears off,” says Boelskifte. “The best thing would be if people would simply come every time, that they wouldn’t decide (whether to attend) from time to time. And it will also be a challenge that we won’t be disappointed if, some Sunday, only 35 people show up.”

Prayer concerns? That they will reach out to all of the Thy region, that Thisted Bykirke would be a place for everyone. That God’s Word would be preached faithfully. And, added Boelskifte, “That we’ll persevere.”

PRAY for the growth of the new Thisted Bykirke, that a faithful core would continue and grow in worship and unity.

PRAY for the group’s new pastor, Isak Holm, that God would give him favor and inspiration.

PRAY that this small fellowship would remain faithful to God’s Word, week after week.

PRAY that revival would come to this corner of the country, and that it would start at Thisted Bykirke.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Down from the mountaintop

What happens when a person returns from a great youth group event, a camp experience, or an exciting conference? We have yet to find out, as Danish youth from all over the country return to their everyday lives following the Brighter four-day youth conference, held last month in Mariager.

Brighter is a cooperative effort between groups like Youth for Christ, Vineyard Danmark, the Baptists, and the Lutheran Oasis renewal movement.

“Brighter is a cross-church youth event for the entire country,” said conference organizer Rasmus Jonstrup, “where you’re welcome just as you are. We live in a culture where so much revolves around things that have to be beautiful. There has to be a good presentation. It has to be impressive. The problem with that is it often becomes too shallow. And that’s not what we want at Brighter. In contrast, we want a conference that’s authentic. Where there’s room for all our humanity. All our mistakes, and all our doubts. We want a conference where there’s room for all, just as we are. Where we can be real in all that we do. Our songs, and our teaching. And in our fellowship. Brighter is for everyone.”

For many Danish youth, it’s been a mountaintop experience. And why not? The teaching, music, fun, and fellowship… everything they enjoyed at Brighter must have seemed larger than life. Especially if they returned to school assignments and family tensions. To small towns and small churches.

Let’s pray for these young Danes now, that the glow of this special time will remain, and that what they learned will carry through to the next few months… before it’s time to return to the Brighter mountaintop next fall!

PRAY for all the young Danes who attended this national youth conference, that God would help them apply and live what they learned and experienced.

PRAY for youth leaders across Denmark, that they would be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading as they face the coming year.

PRAY for more workers to be inspired as they follow up and return to their daily routines.

PRAY for revival among Denmark’s young people, that God would move through their lives and their examples to bring a whole new generation to Jesus Christ.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Cold storage? Not any more!

Things are warming up in the small town of Skjern (western Denmark), where believers have turned a cold storage facility into a beautiful new multi-purpose worship center. Late last month, much of the town and well-wishers from surrounding cities crammed into the new 600-seat sanctuary at the Skjern Bykirke (City Church) to celebrate.

During opening ceremonies September 23, Copenhagen-area pastor Niels Jørn Fogh complemented the growing independent Lutheran congregation for their vision.

“But I don’t think this church center is just an expression of your West Jylland pioneering spirit and building skills,” he told them. “It’s also an expression of how the Holy Spirit leads, works, and encourages.”

The building now hardly resembles the former Danish Crown meat packing center. Besides opening up a large space for worship, the new church facility also includes plenty of room for youth, offices, and a café. Skilled and unskilled volunteers provided much of the needed labor.

“We believe it’s going to be a place where more people in Skjern can meet Jesus,” said congregation president Jan Christiansen. “We’re really praying for that. That more people will meet Jesus through us.”

Skjern Bykirke was established in 2006, and is part of the Evangelical Lutheran free congregations. It currently includes 430 members, but that number will be growing!

PRAISE GOD for this new facility, and for the impact this church will have on a small community.

PRAY for the leadership at Skjern Bykirke, for wisdom as they follow what God is doing there.

PRAY with this congregation that more people will come to know Jesus in Skjern and the surrounding countryside.

PRAY that this entrepreneurial example will encourage other believers throughout Denmark to step out where the Spirit of God leads.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Class is in session!

Last September we prayed for the newest Christian college in Denmark, Hovedstadens Kristne Gymnasium, or HKGYM. At the time it was still a dream, however, and a year away from opening. Who knew what would happen?

This month the strategically located school (it’s in the Vanløse neighborhood of Copenhagen) has been dedicated, classes are open, and instructors are in place. And a new rector, Sigbjørn Sørensen, is excited about the doors God is opening for them in the coming year.

“The first school year is going to be a year of learning together for everyone,” he says.

Now 20 or more young, excited Danes are preparing for lifetimes of service in the second-floor facility, with faith-based studies in everything from design and technology to media and Christian studies. There’s even a study tour planned to the United States.

Here’s a look at the first students, in their new school. Even if you don’t understand their Danish, their excitement is obvious. (And they have a great view of the city!)

In a secular society like Denmark’s, this new opportunity to study under Christian educators, in an environment where Christian faith is supported and encouraged, is huge. These students and educators need our prayers:

PRAY for the first group of students, that God would honor this step of faith and that they would grow as believers.

PRAY for students who may not yet know Christ, that their lives would be transformed.

PRAY that even more students and instructors would be added, that this school would thrive and grow.

PRAY for the instructors, that they would faithfully guide their students and model Christian lifestyles.

PRAY for Rector Sigbjørn Sørensen and the HKGYM leadership, for godly wisdom in this first year and beyond.

THANK God for moving in the lives of young Danes at HKGYM.