This June, it is 30 years since Merete & I came to Copenhagen as a couple, to be new pastors. We experienced a clear call from God to Copenhagen and a prophecy that the calling would be lifelong. Copenhagen has become our life’s calling and we can see that when we look back over the past 30 years and on the coming 30 years.
We came here as a young family with three young children and Merete was pregnant with the fourth. Today we are no longer parents of small kids, but grandparents. Our family has grown to four children, three children-in-law and eight grandchildren. We’ve also had the joy of being spiritual parents for even more people and bonus parents for multiple refugees. Kirken i Kulturcenteret has become a home for our family. This is where we will spend the rest of our lives.
30 years, calls for a flashback. Our time as a senior pastor couple has been outstanding - both in challenges and blessings. We have seen the miracles of God made possible in the challenges, through people’s exceptional sacrifice and later the challenges have shown themselves as blessings. For example:
The merger of Tabor and Elim to become Pinsekirken København and the blessing it has been.
When we took the initiative to distribute 550,000 New Testaments throughout all of Copenhagen.
Entering Drejervej with the dream of creating a strong foundation for the future of the church. The many work nights with volunteer teams and the spirit of financial sacrifice which laid a strong foundation to bless today's generation.
When our Christian Free-School and kindergarten doubled in size after moving to Kulturcenteret.
That we have become pioneers in Christian TV in the Middle East spreading the gospel to millions of Muslims.
Seeing our social work among vulnerable people, refugees and immigrants give us the opportunity to make a difference in the city.
Today, Kulturcenteret (the Cultural Center) is a strong foundation for us as #OneChurch as we stand together across generations and cultures with the vision of seeing life transformation. I look forward to seeing what blessings await us as a church following the challenges of Corona and the fire in the main hall.
Merete and I have always had a common dream that we one day, while still running full pace, could pass on the leadership baton to the next generation. So that we would still have the energy and resources to support and find joy in seeing the next generation carry the baton forward. We have always known that God would one day show us the right time for this handover, we just didn't know when. After careful consideration and prayer, we feel led that the right time is the Annual General Meeting in September 2020.
Merete and I have been in a good dialogue with the church board about wanting to initiate a generational change from the church’s Annual General Meeting in 2020. We know that God will guide the process and we have full confidence in the church board and the church's advisory board.
Merete and I are choosing to announce it now even though the AGM isn’t until September. Now is the right time! As Churchill says, "You should never waste a good crisis." Because crises and challenges also create opportunities. With the ongoing focus on reopening post-corona and the fire in the church hall there is a new phase for the church with new opportunities. This new phase will require an eye for the future and renewed energy from the next generation and also, the intercession and support of the congregation and most importantly, God’s guidance.
On both Merete's and my own behalf, I thank you as a church for joining in prayer for God's blessing on the church so that the coming generational change will become a blessing for the church.
The time after the generational change will be different for Merete and I. Our call to serve God will always be the same! The first time I experienced the call was when I read “The Cross & the Switchblade”, I experienced a call to serve God by meeting people where they are and lead them to Jesus. I started my ministry over a cup of coffee in a coffee bar in the Elim church and with street outreach. Later, this became a church plant in Frederikshavn, where I met Merete. Together, Merete and I, went on to become principals at the bible college in Mariager. All of this prepared us for our ministry; the following 30 years as pastors here in Copenhagen. Merete and I will continue our call, where it began: meeting people through mission and social work and leading them to Jesus over a cup of coffee.
Merete & Jarle
The Church Board’s notice about the process for the coming generational change:
The Church Board is proud of and grateful for our good dialogue with Jarle and Merete. We are pleased that, together with Jarle and Merete, we will have the opportunity to create the best possible framework for a good and trustworthy generational change.
The love for the church has been a hallmark through their entire ministry in Kirken I Kulturcenteret. The Church Board had looked forward to celebrating their 30th jubilee in June 2020. In the light of Covid-19 we have decided to postpone the celebration until autumn 2020.
The Church Board has asked Jarle Tangstad to continue as Senior Pastor and chairman of the Church Board until the generational change has been completed.
The Church Board trusts in God’s guidance in the process and God’s blessings – for the church and for the city. The church board will, together with the leadership in the church develop a roadmap for the generational change for Kirken i Kulturcenteret going forward to the AGM in September.
The Church Board believes that this plan for the generational change will create the best framework to enable waves of people to experience life transformation and that we together can grow in life and ministry. As part of the process the Church Board will seek inspiration from other large Pentecostal churches like Oslo, Gothenburg and Kristiansand.
Thank you for faithful and steadfast prayer for God’s guidance and blessing upon this generational change that we as a church stand together about. Further information will be presented at the AGM where there will be an opportunity for questions.
Peace be with you,
Bjarne Hansen, Vice-Chairman of the church board.