Recently a team of eleven from the OCCA and Latimer Minster travelled to Östersund, Sweden, for a series of evangelistic and training events organised by EFS Church and the local Credo (Christian Union) group at the town’s Mid Sweden University.
The events included apologetics talks on psychology, science and faith, an evangelistic talk at a local café, pancake church (a nighttime outreach to young people in the town centre), and equipping seminars and services for people of all ages in the EFS congregation. In view of Sweden’s strong secular culture, one particular highlight for the team was local people’s genuine openness to discussing issues of faith, especially at the university.
The Credo representative had courageously requested special permission to flyer for the events (ordinarily contrary to university rules), and the Credo and OCCA-Minster teams were encouraged by strong attendance, engaging question-and-answer sessions and positive one-on-one conversations at both campus events. Credo Östersund had never had so many people attend a lunch bar before! We had 8 people indicate commitments to Christ over the evangelistic talks. Another major highlight was pancake church, which ran for two consecutive evenings during the team’s time in Östersund. We were able to offer nighttime partygoers free pancakes, prayer and an opportunity to talk about big questions. Conversations ranged from the more abstract and philosophical to the deeply personal and pastoral (including one man who, without prompting, said that he wanted to know how he could be redeemed).
The team’s overall impression was that people were indeed happy and open to talking about faith, providing we took a step back and started with the questions and objections they were actually putting forward. This showed us again that apologetics has a key role to play in bridging the perceived gap between secular society and the church in Sweden, and we hope and pray that these events have encouraged the local church to be bold, step out and engage with people’s questions.