As a church family Newfrontiers barely exists in northern Europe and the wider church is retreating in the face of an advancing secularism. However in recent times there have been some positive developments that offer hope for the future.
In the last five years we have seen church plants get underway in St Petersburg, Tallinn, Riga, Gdansk, Malmö, Lillestrom and Stockholm to add to existing churches in Copenhagen and Rockneby. Next year we can add Helsinki to that list.
Getting the first people on the ground in all these cities is great but it’s only a start. Teams need to be built, foundational values need to be laid, languages need to be learned and mission needs to get started.
With all those needs in mind I recently travelled back to the UK for a day we called ‘Scandinavian Day: Building momentum for mission’. Our aim was to continue to raise the profile of northern Europe as a mission field, gather people who have a concern for these nations and to hopeful begin to establish ‘supply lines’ from the UK to the northern nations. Supply could come in the form of prayer, encouragement, short or long-term visits or even permanent moves.
I believe our day at the Fletton Centre in Peterborough met many of those hopes. Around 35 people from all across the UK came and heard church planters from Sweden, Norway and Finland share their vision, passion and hopes for the church in their nations. Men and women stepped forward because they believed God was calling them to move nations and as prayers were raised, spirits were lifted and God spoke.
It was encouraging to see connections made that could result in new churches planted and others strengthened and a willingness to work together for the advancing of the kingdom all across Scandinavia. Only time will tell what fruit the day will have and how much momentum was gained, but we’re trusting God that it will prove to have been a key day for church planting in northern Europe.
If you want to know more about any of the nations or churches, please get in touch.