The appearing of coronavirus in Denmark has encouraged the Adventist Church toward an entire rethink of an online church. While a number of churches had been live-streaming their services, the closure of all church buildings in Denmark led to the idea of something more intentional, local church leaders said.
After churches closed, a countrywide service was streamed via the Danish Union website. However, following feedback concerning people from other denominations who have seen the program, church leaders decided to “look outside their own pool.” Searching the web for a domain, they discovered that “webkirke.dk” (webchurch.dk) was available. From this, the picture emerged of offering a more public service.
The union leadership bought advertisements on the front page of Kristeligt Dagblad, a national Christian daily newspaper. After they negotiated a reasonable price, the ads are running every Friday until mid-May.
According to union leaders, this now means extremely intentional programming with team leadership. Personal Ministries and Sabbath School director Henrik Jørgensen leads out in the weekly Bible study. Lisbeth Nielsen, pastor of the Silkeborg Seventh-day Adventist Church, is the organizer for compiling the main worship service, including a children’s story, music, and the sermon. As in many countries in Europe, this is accomplished remotely. “It is a challenge,” Nielson said, “but so far we have been quite successful.”
“What we are doing here is making the road as we drive,” said Jan-Gunnar Wold, communication director for the Adventist Church in Denmark. “We suddenly saw many churches going online. With the shutdown, people are in their homes, glued to their screens, looking for something worthwhile to watch. This made us rush to quickly get resources together for this new effort.”
The website and newspaper ad invite people to tune in to “evangelical sermons.” The aim is to break down preconceptions that some Christians have about Adventists, with the hope that those who become used to seeing the Adventist service on the web will one day find their way to a physical church.
Although there is always room for the number of viewers to grow, union leaders said they find the first results very encouraging.
One senior church member explains. “My age makes it difficult to attend church service. We can often see sermons online, but I have missed a Sabbath School class. With great interest, I have now followed the Sabbath School and service online. This means a lot to me. This initiative started during the corona crisis is very good, but I fear it might stop after the crisis stops! But, thank you for the effort and resources for producing this. I hope and pray that other people outside our church might also tune in and find it useful.”