Subway lines provide fertile mission fields

By June 8, 2009

(MNN) — Greater Europe Mission missionaries hope to plant nine more churches
along Stockholm's
red subway line. A house church has
already begun in Varberg, one of ten subway stops on the red line. 

"I'd like to see nine new churches planted in Stockholm on the red
subway line, beginning in Bredang and continuing down to Norsborg," said
Forrest Hendrix, a GEM missionary. "I've shared this with the pastor of
the Varberg church, and he is excited about the idea."

Hendrix recently traveled to northern India with
other GEM missionaries and European believers, for the purpose of studying a
successful church planting movement there. Over a period of 20 years, missionaries have planted over 12,000 house
churches there. 

"I think if we could start the first one, we could
start more," Hendrix said. "They're doing it in India among Muslims, so why wouldn't it work in Sweden?"

The process will begin with a prayer campaign, with new
missionaries praying at each subway stop over a period of several months. 

"They'll pray against principalities and powers, for
schools and places of business," Hendrix explained. "They'll ask God
to show them people of peace. They're praying for government, blessing, and
that God would save the people." Then, the Christians will seek the
Lord's guidance to find people receptive to the Gospel. 

"The hope is to be invited to a home to pray for the person
and family," Hendrix said. "That could lead to an opportunity to
share Christ with them, and potentially with their network. That house might
become a house church."

Finally, new believers will receive training in Bible study,
evangelism, and church planting. GEM
also partners with Credo
Academy, which provides
theological and ministry training for Swedish Christians.  

The 19th century was a time of revival in Sweden, but the
20th century witnessed rapid secularization. Sweden
no longer has a state church, but the Church of Sweden
still has widespread influence, and it rejects the authority of the Word of

Today, 160,000 of Stockholm's
809,000 residents are Muslim — about 20 percent. There are only 130 evangelical churches to
serve a city the size of Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania. Swedish evangelicals know they have a new
challenge and a new opportunity for ministry.

"Christian Swedes are aware of the mission field at our
doorstep," said Ray Baker, a GEM missionary who teaches at Credo Academy.
"I've met a number of students who are studying Arabic, which is the third
most common native language in Sweden,
after Swedish and Finnish. There's a definite burden to reach out to the
Muslims who are here in this country."

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