When What We Know is Not Enough: Exploring Danish Contemporary Faith Development in the Local Congregation
Denmark is considered a Christian country. The Christian heritage is strong, and three-quarters of the population are members of the Danish Lutheran Church. The Danish culture is, however, characterized by a secular mindset with rationalism, individualism, and an absence of faith in public life. The Danish Lutheran Church enjoys a privileged role in Denmark, but few Danes attend church weekly or monthly or consider religion an important part of their life. A majority of the members are cultural Christians, with an often vague and undefinable faith that seldom gives comfort in a time of distress. They have little awareness of the possibility of a personal connection to God, but, connecting to God is the essence of Christianity. Connectedness brings salvation, meaning, and hope and transforms a person on a deep level.
In order to find a contemporary spirituality model that can support more Danes finding a connection to God, it is beneficial to understand how cultural Christian Danes finds faith. I have analyzed 40 faith stories from cultural Christians who have found connectedness.
The research findings showed that spiritual experience, Sunday services, knowledge of the Christian faith and Christian fellowship most often activate the exploration of faith. The common pathway to faith in a Danish context seems to have the following six stepping stones: (1) Experiencing the spiritual realm, (2) Finding a place where faith is exercised, (3) Gaining knowledge about the Christian faith, (4) Connecting to a Christian fellowship, (5) Practicing and participating in the Christian life, (6) Integrating the Christian faith. In order to further introduce a comprehensive way of understanding how Danes find faith, this axiom was introduced: Touched – Taught – Transformed.
The application of the research findings introduces a model of contemporary practices to be used in the Danish Lutheran Church. A partnership between a missional parish pastor and a missional group of parishioners is preferably the starting place for implementation. The application includes spiritual practices combined with an introduction to the Christian faith in an open and unprejudiced fellowship of people willing to share faith. This supports the pathway by which Danes find faith.
Doctor of Intercultural Studies (DIS)
Denmark, Folkekirke, Missiology, Missions, Secularism, Individualism, Europe, Connectedness, Danish, Spirituality, The Danish Lutheran Church, Faith, Church Renewal, Church and the world
Christianity | Missions and World Christianity | Practical Theology