Saturday, December 30, 2023

A new Danish Bible?

This is no small project. Completion date isn’t set until 2036. And for the Danish church, nothing could be more important than the start of a brand-new Danish-language Bible translation. This project needs our prayers.

And so does the newly formed six-member leadership team. They’re recognized scholars and experts in the Old or New Testament, language, theology, biblical interpretation, or… the list goes on. But success doesn’t depend on their skills alone. 

From left (photo by Bibelselskabet):

Iben Gjesing is an editorial assistant.

Eva Skafte Jensen is a Danish language expert.

Jette Bendixen Rønkilde is a practical theology expert.

Morten Hørning Jensen leads the New Testament translation. 

Søren Holst heads up the Old Testament translation. 

Johannes Baun leads the task as general secretary. 

Keep in mind that this group anticipates working on a new translation for the next decade—actually longer. Perhaps up to 12 years. That tells us something of the enormity of the project. But when they’re done, they will have in hand a contemporary version of the Bible—for churches, evangelism, and personal use. 

Did we mention this is no small task?

“I have sometimes compared the translation project to the temple building in the Old Testament,” said Johannes Baun. “Despite all the differences, both then and now it was about producing something where you can meet God in a significant way. We look forward to using the most talented people for the work. And I want to encourage friends of the Bible Society to take the work into the evening prayers. As it says in the Book of Psalms, ‘If the Lord does not build the house, the builders work in vain.’ ”

PRAY for the steering committee as they meet in the coming year. They need a very large dose of God’s wisdom as they set the direction for this new Bible translation. 

PRAY that truth would prevail in this project. God’s truth, and not the world’s. Pray that fallible human scholarship would give way to God’s Holy Spirit in every aspect of the work.

PRAY that trendy trends would play no part in this new translation, that it would be faithful to God’s word in the original languages, translated into a Danish language that is fully understood by those who will read it. 

PRAY for strength, day after day. This project is a marathon, not a sprint. 

PRAY for the protection of each person working on this Bible translation: Søren, Morten, Jette, Eva, Iben, Johannes, and others. 

Thursday, September 21, 2023

It's a family affair

Pray for a new outreach to families in southeast Copenhagen called, appropriately enough, the “Family Network.”

In an environment sometimes plagued by loneliness, divorce, economic worries, and health challenges, the Network offers free evening sessions featuring encouragement for kids and their parents, workshops, a chance to meet other families, and of course good food. 

The special events are co-sponsored by the Amagerbro Free Church and Blue Cross Denmark.

“For a long time we’ve very much wanted to start a Family Network,” explained the church’s project leader, Vibeke Kelway. “That’s what the church should do—reach out and help people around us. We’ve found there are many families in the local area who don’t have too much money, and need help and support in everyday life.”

So Kelway and her team have opened the church every other Thursday evening for fun themed activities, support, and a free meal. They’re hoping to create a place where memories are made. 

“It’s a place where we’ll be there for others and care for each other,” said Kelway. “A place where people feel like they are seen, and where they can talk to another person while their kids are loved. Kids and parents will meet good role models, and they’ll be able to build relationships and friendships across the board.”

Blue Cross Denmark is a Christian social outreach organization. Currently they’re partnering with more than 40 other churches across the country to offer Family Network evenings.

PRAY for the Amagerbro Family Network events this fall, that God would draw those families who need support and hope.

PRAY for changed lives and healing for families in Amagerbro.

PRAY for Vibeke Kelway and her team, for compassion and courage to share God’s love and hope of salvation with needy families. 

Sunday, July 16, 2023

After a decade, what's next?

Let’s visit another Danish church fellowship that is making a difference in their community—and that could use our prayers. The “Borgerkirken” (Citizen’s Church) in the central Jylland city of Silkeborg.

This city of some 50,000 people contains a number of evangelical churches, but the challenge remains. And as a free (not a state Lutheran) church, Borgerkirken has been in the news recently for two reasons: They just celebrated their tenth anniversary, and they just hired a new lead pastor. Bent Skovhus began serving in April.

Borgerkirken tackles head-on the fact that only two or three percent of Danes regularly attend church services on any given Sunday. “That’s far too few!” says the church’s website. “But the church has unfortunately become distant, and not very relevant in the lives of Danes.”

Under Pastor Skovhus’s leadership, Borgerkirken members are working to build new bridges, not only with relevant Bible preaching on Sundays, but also with an inviting meal after services. It’s a great place to connect. They also promote small groups for discussion and personal connection—men’s groups and women’s groups. 

“We want to transform Denmark,” says the church’s vision statement, “by freshly communicating the gospel, living the gospel ourselves, and reestablishing the worth of all.”

Let’s join in prayer for Silkeborg and the Borgerkirken!

PRAY for Pastor Bent Skovhus in his new position as lead pastor. Pray for energy and vision as he settles into the community.

PRAY for Borgerkirken’s small groups. These are the front lines. Pray that believers would be built up and that not-yet believers would be drawn to attend, and that the groups would flourish and multiply.

PRAY that faith would grow anew in Silkeborg and that revival in Denmark might spread from this strategic city.

Friday, May 05, 2023

Because good questions deserve answers

They’re doing a quiet, scholarly work… testifying truth about the gospel on the college campus and all across Denmark. The “Center for Kristen Apologetik” (Center for Christian Apologetics) needs our prayers.

For volunteers with the CKA, it’s all about truth—in all God’s world. So they’re organizing public forums and webinars, training believers to share their faith, and sharing biblical perspectives with anyone who will listen. 

They’ve also pulled together a “dream team” speakers’ bureau of leading Danish Christian thinkers. These professors and students are ready to tackle a variety of questions, including: 

Did Jesus really rise from the dead? How do science and faith work together? What prevents us from sharing our faith? What about evolution? How reliable is the gospel? How do beauty and art point to a creator? What is a Christian worldview?

Good questions! So CKA staff and speakers are training the Danish church to provide answers. Pray that God would touch hearts and minds through this vital ministry.

PRAY for the center’s leader, Emil Børly Nielsen. For wisdom and vision to equip more Danish believers with truth from the scriptures.

PRAY for the CKA speakers bureau. These eight CKA experts are prepared to speak on how to share our faith in a winsome, intelligent way. 

PRAY that more Danish believers would catch the CKA vision and would be able to ably share the good news of Jesus in their workplaces and homes.

PRAY that God would continue to bless the work of the CKA!

Sunday, February 12, 2023

A new day for Oase

Pray for the new general secretary of the “Dansk Oase” movement, Keld Dahlmann. He comes to the critical leadership position after serving as a pastor in Aarhus since 2002.

In his new role, Dahlmann oversees a country-wide network of some 21 churches, including many of the larger churches in the country. (Dahlmann’s church in Aarhus, for example, has around 800 members—which is quite large for a Danish church.) Churches in the movement, while still retaining their Lutheran identity, also enjoy a bit more autonomy than mainline Lutheran fellowships, and typically take an evangelical perspective. 

Oase churches are also the source of some of the most dynamic praise music artists in the country. And the movement maintains a strong emphasis on youth outreach. And these churches also participate in a large yearly family camp called “SommerOase,” featuring praise concerts, seminars, and activities for all ages. It’s a highlight of the year. 

Dahlmann brings not only his experience as a preaching and lead pastor, but also a passion for international outreach and ministry. The result is what he calls a more “welcoming culture” for those normally outside the church.

“We’re never done,” he told his church in a recent blog. “And that’s fantastic. I have my time, where I contribute something, and there was someone here before me, and someone follows me. That’s the nature of God’s kingdom—we never finish.”

PRAY for Keld Dahlmann, that he would be inspired to lead the Dansk Oase movement church network in God’s direction. 

PRAY for the Dansk Oase movement, with churches scatted all over the country. Pray for God-honoring growth in each of the 21 churches, and that many would be saved and discipled.

PRAY for God’s protection of the movement, and for wisdom in its leadership. Pray that they would keep God’s priorities amidst all the world’s craziness.