In or Out

Århus Café Church has been growing steadily since our beginnings 6-7 years ago. People I meet often ask me how the church is going, and I tell them my version of the story: things are going GREAT; we’ve just had our first baptism, we finally have an employed ‘pastor’ who I’m sure will be the perfect match, people are committed, and attendance is still growing. But then comes another question: how many of these people are “from the outside”? And I usually cringe at the question. For even though it is asked by supporters and critics alike, it unsubtly reveals an understanding that if we don’t attract the really lost (the heathens, if you will), then what is the point? This is missing the point.

Of course we want to grow as a church and help people everywhere to meet Jesus and experience his love. People who have never done so deserve the chance. And we do, in fact, work with a target group, as most (smaller, at least) churches should. I’m not talking about proselytizing, either – that was the way of a now bygone era.

The point is that defining Christians, or any people, as “in or out” is flawed, at best, or downright rude. Whether you have a previous Christian connection is not necessarily the deciding factor in your journey with Jesus right now. Sowing the seeds and harvesting was never reserved for the same person or church. People are meeting God in Århus Café Church. They may have Christian parents, or they may not. We don’t ask. We just try to be a force of good in this city and lead people to become followers of Christ.

Doing church should not be about counting sheep – even less about discerning between black and white sheep.

Author: Kenneth Mollerup Birch

Living north of Copenhagen, Denmark. MA in Information Science. Interests include communication, internet, sociology, language, politics, religion, theology, travel, music, and food.

5 thoughts on “In or Out”

  1. I couldn’t agree more!
    I’m often faced with “the sheep-counting question”, and though I’m also using it myself, I keep wondering about the main motivation behind it. In many cases the answer to it serves as a tool for measuring growth and success, which is to ask a lot more of the question than it’s able to deliver. Although growth also happens in numbers, there are soo many other aspects to it. And who are we to measure anyway…? We will never be able to measure anyone but ourselves, and we were never ment to either.
    It’s great to get a glimpse of what God is doing in Århus! May He continue to meet people through you guys and keep your church growing in His likeliness 🙂

  2. Exactly! I heard somebody once express it like this: It’s not about your church being filled with people, it’s about people in your church being filled with God.
    And great to hear from you 🙂 Will you be at Youth Matters? A carful of us are looking forward to going.

  3. That expression really cut’s to the core of it!! Imagine a church of people being filled with God. What a huge impact it could have! What if just a few, or maybe just one person, was totally filled with God and devoted to Him… I remember the sentence uttered to D.L.Moody that changed his ministry drastically: “The world has yet to see what God will do with and for and through and in and by the man who is fully consecrated to Him.” (
    History proves that He doesn’t need the big masses in order to move the world in extraordinary ways, and that leads me to think… What would it look like if I was constantly filled with the Spirit, open to His leading every minute of the day?!!

    Ah, I get so fired up over the subject that I’m in danger of taking over your blog 🙂 But I’ll move to the next subject… I’m also going to Youth Matters, looking forward to it a lot! Great to see you there 🙂

  4. What a wonderful thing to imagine! And a good reminder not to settle for mediocrity in my own spiritual life. Being filled by the Spirit every day should be what we strive for.

    And a good quote, too. D.L. Moody was a great man. I have a biography of him sitting on my shelf – maybe I should actually take the time to read it one of these days.

  5. Sounds like a good idea. I haven’t read much about him myself, but I have no doubt that there is much inspiration that could be drawn from insight into his life. At least you have the biography already…in that sence you’re ahead of me 🙂

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