Thursday, May 16, 2013

Numb3rs – Swedish Partnership UPDATE

In 2008 a Three Way Partnership was initiated between EFK – Korskyrkan, Riverbend Church (SC), and United World Mission in Lulea, Sweden.

You might be wondering, Sweden? You might have thought that this nation is a Christian nation but this is far from the facts. The truth is that less than one percent of the nation calls themselves evangelical. “Though Sweden has a deep historical Christian experience the last several generations have lost the story and today’s population know virtually nothing about the living God,” says Richard Hultmar, EFK – Korskyrkan  church planter in northern Sweden.

With some of the highest suicide, abortion and singleness rates relationships are hard. People tend to congregate in pubs and clubs from Friday evening to Sunday. This is an enlightened population who pride themselves in knowledge and independence. “Life is good here so why would any intelligent person believe in or need something called God,” said Lars. I had a long conversation with him in a bar one night and found he never heard of the Christmas story or Easter. He knew of St. Nicholas and heard of Jesus but didn’t know what He was all about.

Several partnership surveys demonstrated that on the campus of Lulea Technical University there were 5000 students and 9 Christians.

Starting with this small group Riverbend began a campus discipleship ministry with hopes of sending out graduates into the whole of Northern Europe that were capable of multiplying themselves.

The initial year was slow with three new believers but we knew a focus of relationship building would create a solid foundation. These last four years Riverbend sent teams to Lulea to perform research, encourage believers in two local churches, gave confidence to this fledgling campus ministry and their leaders, as well as helped with outreach activities.

Progress saw more believers and leaders grow. The leadership team is 2nd and 3rd generation today. When asked about what they want to see God do, their response was, “Every student, faculty and staff has an opportunity to hear and respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ.”  It’s exciting to see their heart for those far from God grow.  Our desire is implement more equipping so that as students graduate, they are confident in making disciples and starting simple churches wherever God takes them.  We have a goal to start 2 to 3 new groups focused on making disciples.

 As a part of more intentional training, we are planning a 10-day LINC (Laborers Impacting the Nations for Christ) during Welcome Week at the end of August.  We hope to recruit recent graduates who have all been through LINC in the states to help out!

Speaking of recent grads, there are now six new locations in Sweden and Norway where graduates live (check out the Google map). We desire to learn more about the spiritual climates of these cities and towns and see if there is a desire to be more equipped with tools for disciple making.

Our desire to see graduates equipped as workers for the Kingdom of God is becoming a reality.  Now we want to see the heart to own the Great Commission not just for Sweden but also to the ends of the earth.  We can already identify about four countries where Americans can’t gain access, but there are already Swedes on the grounding with professional careers.  We can equip Swedes to go places we can’t consider to expand the Kingdom of God to see the unreached reached!  We would love to see a short-term missions trip planned this year to explore at least one location. 

This is your investment. This is your joy.

Mark Szymanski

Won’t you please consider joining our financial support team? You can send contributions to: United World Mission, PO Box 602002, Charlotte NC 28260-2002 and write ACCT# 11013 in the memo line. Further info about on-line giving and other programs see Thank you to our present supports that allow us to impact the many lives across the planet. Again, THANKS!

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