To the Ends of the Earth: Denmark Christianity Explored Ministries

Thursday 22 August 2019 saw the release of Life Explored in Denmark!

To celebrate its launch, we spoke to Jakob Morthorst-Jensen and Helle Jakobsen about all things Denmark, and how they're hoping Life Explored will help Danish people reconsider what they're living for.

Jakob is a professional living in Aarhus and first came across the Life Explored materials through his links with All Soul's Langham Place in London. He then partnered with the Christian publishing organisation Forlagsgruppen Lohse, where Helle works as Marketing Assistant, to introduce the course to a Danish audience.

Thanks for chatting to us, Helle and Jakob! First things first, can you tell me a bit about what it's like living in Denmark?

Jakob: Well many reports and studies have shown Denmark to be one of the happiest countries in the world! I think this is for a few reasons.

Firstly, there is a culture of trust between people here. We also pay high taxes, which means that we have a really good welfare system. We don't have many formalities or power structures here, so you get a real sense of equality. This is helped by the fact that most people are on similar wages - we don't really have class divides.

We have a lot of freedom in our country. Both freedom of speech and the freedom that comes with not having to worry about money.

Helle: Yes, we have so many options in Denmark. You can choose the education and career that you want. There is even the idea that you can choose your health in many ways - we have all the information about how to live a good life and make healthy choices.

That does also mean there is a sense of responsibility as well though - people might be tempted to blame themselves for any bad health they experience because of all the options we have to live well.

Wow, when can I come and visit?! You talked about the freedoms you have in Denmark. How do you find being a Christian there?

Jakob: Yes we are a very free country - we can speak and meet as we want to as Christians. However, like much of the Western world, over the last 10 years there has been more and more emphasis on living with Danish values of equality and human rights, which are defined by the government.

Helle: Like in the UK, the Queen is the head of the church in Denmark, which is Lutheran in denomination. As of January 2019, 74.7% of the country would officially belong to this church and pay taxes to it. However, very few of these people would attend church regularly. Most people would just go to church for Christmas and weddings.

According to Operation World, only 3.5% of Danes are evangelical Christians.

How do you think Life Explored might help you to reach these nominal church members and non-Christians with the good news of Jesus?

Helle: As we mentioned, the Danish people are known for being happy! And Life Explored (Udsforsk Livet in Danish) challenges the whole idea our culture has of what true happiness is. It shows us the happiness we think we have, isn't the best kind of happiness.

Jakob: People here have everything they need and even everything they want. They don’t need to buy any more things.

So now they turn to experiences to find meaning. If you go to a birthday party, people don't take gifts they will buy people things they can do - like going to theme parks and eating at nice restaurants.

Helle: Most people are quite happy living this way - that's why we think Life Explored is such a good tool for our country. It shows people the gods you are under and that they won't make you happy in the long run. Only a relationship with the true God will.

Jakob, you mentioned you'd been part of the pilot runs of Life Explored in your church in Aarhus. How did those courses go?

Jakob: My church has run two pilots using the Danish Life Explored material.

The people who attended these two courses gave really positive feedback. It seemed like people really wanted to keep coming to the seven evenings.

The first time we piloted the course it was harder because we spent too much time on the films. But in the second course we decided to move quite quickly from the introduction film to the Bible studies.

I really felt the course was great to keep people in the text and talking about the Bible.

Group in Aarhus taking part in Life Explored

Quite a few people on the course were already coming along to church but hadn't made the life decision to follow Jesus yet. Lots of people said they were moved by the things they learnt and Life Explored seemed to help them on that journey. It helped people to really get to know God from the Bible and correct some of their wrong ideas about Him.

Ann-Sofie from Randers came along to the course with a friend. She isn't used to going to church but came because she thought it sounded exciting. She reflected: "I've gotten a lot out of the conversations about life, and I've come to notice things I haven't thought about."

One of the best evenings was when we looked at the story of Abraham, which shows us he first believed the promise before the introduction of the law. That really stuck with me.

Congratulations on the official launch of Life Explored! What are your big hopes for how it will be used? And how can we pray for you?

Helle: We love how easy it is to get started with Life Explored. You watch the film and talk about the Bible, and anyone can use it. So we are hoping that many ordinary Christians would see this and use it with their friends. In the short term we are encouraging churches to use it in their small groups, so people can see the material and have confidence to try it with others, or invite others along to church-run courses.

Jakob: I hope it will help people know more about what kind of God they are serving and the true happiness he wants them to experience. It asks the most important questions: What do you think about God? Would you like to have a relationship with God?

Helle: Please pray that people will hear about Life Explored. It's not very well known yet. Lots of people use the Alpha course, but often come to us to ask about what other courses we have and we think Life Explored will be really good to recommend to them.

Pray that people will understand Life Explored and see how it could help people answer these big questions about who God is and where we really find happiness.

Jakob: Pray that it will a be a tool that people find easy to use and that they will use it to tell their friends about Jesus.

Find out more about Life Explored in Danish

This year there is a unique opportunity to help support our ongoing partnerships with countries like Denmark.

With To the Ends of the Earth, every pound donated as a new or increased regular (eg monthly) gift will be matched by some generous friends and given to our international work.

Help us to help people love, live and tell the good news of Jesus to the ends of the earth.

Every £1 you donate enables one person to hear the gospel through our ministry.

  • £10 per month - the total matched amount of £150 (including Gift Aid) helps train 15 pastors to share the gospel in East Africa.
  • £20 per month - the total matched amount of £300 (including Gift Aid) provides eight East Asian churches with local language resources.
  • £50 per month - the total matched amount of £750 (including Gift Aid) could sponsor 15 rural Albanian churches to run Christianity Explored.
  • £100 per month - the total matched amount of £1,500 (including Gift Aid) helps us provide start-up funds for new translations.
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