Greve church to launch café ministry in Copenhagen
Friday, 22 June 2012 21:19

Copenhagen, Denmark - After three and a half years of praying and planning, the Greve Church of the Nazarene in Denmark is close to its vision of opening a café ministry in Copenhagen, which they hope will lead to a new church plant there.

The church is currently bidding on properties for the café, with hopes of acquiring a space by early July. The opening date is slated for September.

Four couples from the church and a Mission Corps missionary have primarily driven the project, which is modeled on the success of three Sweet Surrender Nazarene coffee shops in Poland. The couples prayed for the Spirit’s leading for more than three years before the project began to move forward this year.

They expect the café to create a neutral meeting point for reaching people who don’t yet know Christ. Like in some other European cultures, many Danish people are uncomfortable with visiting a church.

“We have tried traditional ministry with the church as the center point. We have made big events, and had a lot of people attending, but there was a piece missing. We could never move beyond that one time thing,” said David Christoffersen, a member of the Greve Church who, with his wife Olga, has been fundraising for the project and plans to work in the café when it opens. “A ‘normal’ service is also limited to be one way, which works fine for Christians learning, but for non-believers who have questions and wrestle with the message, the best approach is a conversation."

Coffee shops are a common meeting point for Danes; people will gather at cafes for lunch, for group class work or business meetings and to spend time with friends.

“It is here that Danes really relax and get into conversations,” Olga said.

The church has targeted Copenhagen for its first café ministry because it is the capitol, and many people who live there see the commute from the city to Greve as an obstacle to regular church attendance and involvement. Additionally, cafes don’t do as well outside Copenhagen, but thrive inside the city, David said.

Talking about religion can be uncomfortable for some Danes, who view it as a highly personal matter. So the café will create a warm atmosphere that offers its customers spiritual encouragement and inspiration in gradual ways that take into account Danish comfort levels.

The group expects to host events in the café, such as childcare classes for mothers, baking courses, acoustic music performances and engaging customers in charity projects, said Mariana Nielsen, another member of the project team.

The church requests ongoing prayer support for the project. While the café will be largely staffed by volunteers, they will need to hire a manager and pay rent on the location. When the café opens, the workers will also require prayer support for energy to run the café after coming home from full-time jobs. They also request prayer that God will steer into the café people in whom the Spirit is at work, and for the courage and wisdom for sharing Christ’s love in ways that meet people where they are, Nielsen said.