By Anne Katrine Ebbesen*
The Migrant Network of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Denmark has started a series of webinars about church, migration and integration. The perspective is how to grow an international church in Denmark, and the discussion also centers on the global Christian fellowship.
"Who has the copyright to God?” was a leading question from Ravi Chandran, which introduced the webinar participants to the core of what it means to run an international church. Chandran is a senior pastor and chairman of International Christian Community in Denmark – an interdenominational church which was founded 18 years ago.
Instead of a common liturgy, the “heart language, which everyone has” forms the collective baseline of the church, explained Chandran.
Chandran added: “The Bible pays special attention to aliens and outsiders in general. Migrants are outsiders in society already, so make sure they are taken care of in the church.”
With 1,500 online followers from 40 different nationalities living in Denmark, the International Christian Community is already used to providing different mediums of worship and service.
Challenges facing the community mainly stem from its international appeal. People coming and going are a common problem, as well as difficulties attracting new people. Chandran explains the vital importance of the first impression. “A newcomer needs to connect to someone the very first time they are at the church or they won’t come back. Our focus is therefore on inviting people to be an active part of the congregation from their very first visit.”
What can the Danish church do to reach migrants or work with migrant churches? This was the question on the minds of many webinar participants.
To this inquiry, Chandran suggested: “Before reaching out, decide where there is room for compromise in the method, not the message.”
Anne Katrine Ebbesen, working for the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Denmark.
The article is published with special permission.