For the last six years, OM has partnered with members of the Vineyard Church in Denmark to reach out to the growing Muslim population, as well as secular Danes, through different avenues.

Casting their nets wide

For the last six years, OM has partnered with members of the Vineyard Church in Denmark to reach out to the growing Muslim population, as well as secular Danes, through different avenues. In Odense, Sebastian is building relationships in a Muslim neighbourhood, and training Christians to disciple others. Helle Samuelsen, the Field Leader of OM in Denmark, and her team work among secular Danes on Bornholm, a small island off the coast of Denmark.

Historically, Denmark has been a Christian country, ever since the Danish Vikings converted to Christianity during the 900s. However, the number of Christians in Denmark has been steadily decreasing the last decades, and with the rise of Islam and folk religions, church attendance is now at an all-time low.

But prayer for revival and renewal of the church is spreading, and Jesus followers are reaching out to the growing Muslim population and secular Danes in several parts of the country.

Denmark’s third-largest city, Odense, is home to more than five per cent of the country’s Muslim population*; it is also where Sebastian Oleson works as an intern pastor at Vineyard Vollsmose, a growing church fellowship that was planted in 2021. Sebastian and other OM team members spend time building community with Muslims, as well as talking to them about their faith in Jesus.

In order to help these church communities develop and flourish, the team ensures that God is put at the centre of everything that happens. With an emphasis on prayer, Jesus followers are encouraged to grow, learn, and share what they have experienced with others in order to develop new communities of Jesus followers.

Sebastian has embraced the idea of sowing broadly and said he takes any opportunity to welcome people into his fellowship.

“During our meetings, people come in randomly,” he said. “When we stand outside afterwards chatting, we talk to the people who are passing by. During our breaks we invite them in, and we talk to them. We also hand out free juice outside the building and share God’s love with people.”

Building good relationships with the community is vital, as well as engaging deeply with residents, so Vineyard Vollsmose often organises outdoor activities.

“We are lucky now to have a location for meetings in a very central area of this Muslim neighbourhood,” said Sebastian. “Sometimes we play sports in the area and invite children and other people. We have also been helping to clean people's homes, and helping them move, and do different things [they need].”

Discipleship is also a big part of Vineyard Vollsmose. Those who are part of the outreach to Muslims are encouraged to join in a course that discusses how to share their faith with others.

Sebastian is also keen to focus on how to cultivate friendships among the OM team and their Muslim neighbours, encouraging them to learn more about how to specifically address questions that Muslims may have, and to understand their culture better – even suggesting they take a trip to a local mosque.

Reaching out to the youth

While Sebastian works on the mainland, the leader of OM in Denmark, Helle Samuelsen, is establishing VCJFs on the island of Bornholm. Since she left her pastoral position at a mainland church six years ago, Helle and her husband Carsten have been building a new and vibrant church community in the town of Rønne.

“We had a clear vision from God, calling us away from us, away from a safe life and a big church, [to] reach out to people who are far away from church,” said Helle. “And that was very scary because we had three children then, and you know, it was a step of faith because we didn't know really know if we would succeed at all.”

Since Helle and Carston started the church in 2017, the fellowship has been working to engage people with the gospel, and training new believers to do the same.

“We have been inviting people to engage their lives [and] trying to help them in different ways. We share the gospel, pray for them and disciple them,” Helle explained. “We train some of these new believers to actually lead a group.”

Since Ronne has a vibrant nightlife and youth who like to enjoy it, the church fellowship often does outreaches in the evenings and into the night.

Once a month, a large tent is set up in a popular area, where people passing by can ask questions about Christianity and are invited to join a Discovery Bible Study (DBS).

“When [the young people] are out partying, we have started reaching out in the night to them and praying for them, speaking with them and inviting them for some kind of fellowship,” said Helle. “And slowly, slowly, people started joining a DBS.”

Helle has found that the younger generation doesn’t know much about Christianity, God or the Bible, so these outreaches have helped spread the good news.

“You know, they don't know the difference between [the] New Testament [and the] Old Testament. They don't know who Paul is, they don't know about who Jesus is, and what He says about Himself,” Helle said.

But thanks to the fellowship’s willingness to step out and engage in their community, people are being drawn to the church – with many being baptised in the sea on the nearby shore.

Pray for the harvest

One of the main challenges that the church fellowships in Ronne and Odense face is the lack of workers and volunteers; the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.

“The struggle is actually that we are not enough harvesters,” said Helle. “That is our problem. [People] don't know how urgent this is. Churches are going down and they are just closing. It's urgent that we have many more people engaged in evangelism and church planting in Denmark and in Europe in general.”

Please pray for God to work among the groups of Muslims and secular Danes. Pray that God may give those who are leading the church fellowships wisdom on how to proceed, and that more people would become involved and engaged in OM’s work throughout Denmark.


* 2022 Report on International Religious Freedom: Denmark – US Department of State

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