|Relationships the key in Norway|
|Thursday, 26 July 2012 15:24|
Much emphasis is placed on building relationships, living openly and authentically with each other at churches in Norway, gap year student Rachael Kettle discovers
I recently spent two weeks in Askim, Norway a small city just south of Oslo, based in a church called 'Kraftvarket', which in English means 'power house'. This trip was part of my DNA internship and I headed out as part of a team of eight from my DNA year.
We went there to serve the church in whatever way the needed us and asked us to, which ranged from cooking and cleaning, to street work and leading prayer and worship services.
The church that we were part of was fairly small, with a real family feel to it and our team instantly felt at home. As a church they put a real emphasis on fellowship and hospitality.
As a result of this a large part of the things they had planned for us to do simply involved spending time with the members of the church and others who were part of their community. And a lot of food!
It quickly became obvious just how much they really valued relationships as a church. Although at first it didn't feel like we were serving them in any 'meaningful' way during these times, after a few days we began to recognize the importance of what we were doing for them, and how much they valued us serving them in this way.
I found this attitude of dedication and genuine love and acceptance that they displayed toward each other both inspiring and humbling. Although the church was small they had a real dedication to and willingness to live their live openly before others; not only those who were part of the church but to people who they didn't really know and who were not Christians, they openly welcomed and cared for.
Giving their time to be fully present with each other, creating space for each other and an environment in which you could really be yourself.
Another main focuses of our time was going into different schools in the local area. This was something the church was very keen for use to do for them as a way to develop the relationships they had already formed with the schools.
Again the value they placed on relationships came across clearly in this; they wanted to be able to serve the schools, and to give to them. Although the schools knew we were students on a discipleship course we were not speaking about our faith in most of the classes we took. In most of the schools we were taking English classes.
This is something the really enjoyed and we had great fun getting to know the kids and playing many games of 'Var har clocken Mr ulv?' (What's the time Mr Wolf?).
We were also able to invite the kids along to an after school club which we ran for the church. This was something similar to what we do on a Friday night at J10, which a mixture of church and non-church kids came along to. We ran lots of different fun activities: games, face painting and making balloon animals (at which I am now an expert), as well as giving a short gospel message and singing some songs with them.
Again the emphasis was on getting alongside the kids, getting to know them and showing we valued them.
Anne and Eskil, who had arranged our trip, also work with a number of different church plants around Norway, and we spent some of our time visiting and serving them.
One of these was a place called 'Sub church' in Oslo. Although their church meetings on a Sunday are very similar to what we do, on the whole this was a very alternative way of doing church. Sub church is designed as a cafe and an all ages music venue. They use their building as a way to reach out to the youth and marginalised in the city, and have a passion for alternative music and art and using these as tools for outreach.
I really enjoyed spending time with these different churches. It was very inspiring to see and hear about the different ways in which they were started, how God was working through them, and about the different approaches they each took.
On the whole I had a fantastic time in Norway and made some lasting friendships, both with the team I went with and with the people we met there. It was great to see the ways in which God used our team (even if wasn't how we initially expected!) and grew each of us as we stepped out using our gifts and trying new things.
Rachael Kettle is a member of Gerrard Street Baptist church in Aberdeen and will complete her gap year with DNA, the Baptist Union of Great Britain’s gap year partner, in August.
|Last Updated on Monday, 30 July 2012 21:29|
By A Web Design
Christians who do not go to church - the fastest growing sector of the Christian community. But their experiences are largely unknown.
Related: Eve's story about leaving the church... John Rackley wonders what a simpler church might look like.
The relationships between local authorities and faith groups are documented in a new report
Even if good always triumphs, children's TV programmers seem more at ease supping with the devil than rejoicing with Christians. Should children's TV make more of the Bible?
New: The June edition of Baptist Voice is ready to download - or to listen (new option)
The Baptist Times produces weekly news round-ups. Click here for more on these free emails.
A new section highlighting how the Baptist Union of Great Britain is changing its way of working.
BMS World Mission
News and views from around the world
Download the latest monthly audio magazine. Produced as a ministry to those who are blind or have impaired vision.
The church planting arm of the Baptist Union of Great Britain
News and views from the 18-30s - the website of the Baptist Younger Leaders' Forum
Baptist Times link on your site
Connect your church website to The Baptist Times by adding this button.
By Plimun Web Design