Yesterday was a big milestone for our church plant. The story so far.
A day of new beginnings
At some point in the latter part of 2000 a handful of young Adventists in Århus began meeting every Sabbath afternoon to pray, sing, study, and talk together. Little did we know at that stage what it would eventually become.
Our weekly gatherings continued, but over the following years a vision evolved of planting a new church for postmoderns in Århus. Inspired greatly especially by seminars with Peter Roennfeldt and by the Café Church in Copenhagen, and in accord with the vision of the church in Denmark, the committed members (a coalition of the willing) formed a core group. After 18 months of prayer, study, discussion, and hard work, this group had established the vision and fundamental strategy for the church we felt a calling to build. Based on the documents resulting from this work, the project was launched in 2003 as Århus Café Church.
We had bought new furniture and turned the room we were meeting in into a café. Our weekly meetings were not just meetings anymore but actual church services. Our music team evolved. Small groups were formed. And from the onset the leadership of this aspiring church did their best to prayerfully stay focused on the vision.
None of us were employed. Which is why we were very grateful for a large gift from an unknown donor which opened the door for many of us to receive valuable leadership training. Our structure is somewhat ‘flat’ and democratic, and at no time has the project rested solely on one person’s shoulders. We see this as a strength; every person is useful, but no one is irreplaceable, and all of our work takes place in teams.
Any church planting project will meet its share of challenges. We have had several discussions with the mother church with which we still share a building. Sometimes fruitful, sometimes excruciating. Fortunately our relations are better now than they have been, and the backing of the Union has been an important source of support.
Where it got us
Currently weekly attendance ranges between 20 and 40 people, and a lot of these are committed to bringing the Gospel to Århus and showing the world the love of Jesus. Small groups, worship nights, public discussions, homeless project, are just some of the things going on. We are trying out a new leadership structure which will hopefully give us more time to focus on spiritual leadership.
And now, it is with great joy that we can call ourselves a Company of Believers, organized under the Danish Union of Churches. At the church service yesterday, church planting coordinator Thomas Müller and president Ole Kendel conducted the formal recognition of Århus Café Church with 15 founding members.
The status as Company of Believers is the stepping stone to be a formally integrated church in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
The road ahead
At this occasion, yours truly received ordination as elder in this newly formed group. This is a humbling responsibility, for who am I to do the work of the almighty God? A great task still lies ahead of us. But the recognition from the Seventh-day Adventist Church – as a group, and for me personally – confirms that we are on the right track. That what we are doing is God’s vision for this city. I pray that we will continue to grow under His guidance.
www.aarhuscafekirke.dk (in Danish)