This spring term was in many ways both an exciting but also a very busy time. Now that we have commissioned our group from Södertälje to plant in the southwest of Stockholm (we are in the northeast), we feel we are in a new transition. In some ways it feels like a new beginning, but also like one step backward as we lost a big part of our critical mass. So, we decided in this transition to start up again our café church that we did many years ago.
With our concept of café church, we can concentrate more on evangelism and training at the same time. The main themes this spring were: ‘The resurrection of Christ’; ‘Can we trust in the Bible?’ and ‘Suffering and a loving God’. Café church is done in the following way: we ask an apologetic question, then talk about them in groups, and then see how we can use the question to point to the gospel. It is both evangelistic and at the same time, we train everyone in the church on how to answer these difficult questions that so many would rather avoid. It has been a real blessing so far.
In June we will have our annual team meeting. We are planning to evaluate our experience with helping ‘the Södertälje group’ in church planting. But we will also spend some time talking about our next step as a church. Rather than starting many new ministries with the risk of wearing down people in the church, we will instead spend some time thinking about how we can improve our existing ministries (to take the next step).
Profile of our apprentice Henrik
One of our new church members is Henrik Soukka, who is also our first apprentice. We would like to take this opportunity to introduce him in this newsletter as some of you might get an opportunity to meet him in the future. He will come with us in June to the Evangelical Minister’s Assembly (EMA) conference in London. Henrik grew up in a Christian family with parents who were Bible translators in Africa, in Senegal. Henrik has memories of his childhood in Africa but he came back to Sweden in his early years and spend most of his time growing up here.
When he finished high school, his sister encouraged him to apply to a Bible school, which he didn’t think was a good idea, but he ended up applying anyway and was accepted. As he started going to the Bible school, he did not know it would change his life completely. It was here God changed his heart and he decided to follow Jesus wholeheartedly.
After the Bible school, Henrik decided to apply to a theological seminary but as he started the programme, he felt things were not right. He grew up with the Bible being God’s word and fully trustworthy and sufficient, but at the seminary they questioned the Bible as God’s word and its trustworthiness. This made Henrik spend additional time really learning about the Bible and Christian faith as he was challenged by liberal theology. This period strengthened his belief in the Bible and conviction that the Bible should be preached and have a central role in our lives and the church. This led him to look for a church that preaches the Bible faithfully – and that is how he found Emmaus church.
Henrik is now studying in the Royal Technical University in Stockholm and is involved in the Christian student ministry, being one of the leaders there. He has run a Christianity Explored course there and has helped lead an Alpha course and is going to start reading the Bible one-to-one with some of the students.
After Henrik started attending Emmaus church, he was offered a ministry apprenticeship during his time at university. During this apprenticeship period, he will have the opportunity to learn many things about the church, will receive training in many areas and grow in maturity, godliness and in Christian character. We will also support him in his Christian University ministries. If you do come to the Crosslinks AGM or to the EMA, please do come and meet Henrik.
Please pray for…
- the café church and the possibility of using this both for outreach and training.
- our upcoming team meeting and how we can move forward without exhausting everybody who is already involved in the church. We need wisdom to know how we can be more effective in what we already do and how every ministry can be more gospel centred.
- Henrik, both for his studies at University and the Christian student ministry, and for his apprenticeship period in Emmaus church. Pray that he may grow in godliness and Christian character.
Yours in Christ,
Chris and Lotta