Sweden is one of the most secularised countries in the world. The role of religion has changed a lot during the last decade. Influence by post-modernism and immigrants from all over the world have had an impact on the society over the past 50 years.
Most Swedes have very little knowledge about Christianity although many claim to believe in a "higher power". The church is becoming smaller and more marginalised. If this trend continues, some predict that the last evangelical church in Sweden will close in 2050! There is a growing awareness amongst major denominations of the need to see new fellowships started. There are a number of new initiatives in many of the major cities of Sweden.
Evangelical believers are generally from the middle class. There is a sad saying that the most secularised hour of the week is on Sunday mornings at 11 o'clock! Churches often become isolated pockets in society without any real impact on the community. About 15% of the population in Sweden are immigrants from all over the world. High unemployment and social isolation mean that integration into Swedish society is difficult for many, and there is an atmosphere of hopelessness in many communities.
Sweden needs Christians who are willing to communicate and express the gospel by demonstrating the love of God through words and deeds. This would speak powerfully to people who feel like they have no way of being heard or changing the situation in which they live.
ABOUT OM SWEDEN
OM Sweden was started in the late 60s, and its office is situated in Jönköping, a minor city in the central south. The home office team currently consists of about 15 workers serving more than 40 people on either short- or long-term service.
The office is located in a suburb called Råslätt. This area is highly multicultural, and together with the local church we work towards meeting many of the needs this area has.
OM Sweden recently launched an International Ministry Team in Råslätt that primarily reaches out to immigrant women and youth in the area.
In the past year a unique ministry has started for Somali believers. With the help of the internet and video, a platform to reach hidden believers and to minister to other Somalis, not only in Sweden but throughout Europe and Africa has been established.
There are many suburbs similar to Råslätt in Sweden, characterised by their multicultural residents. In the major cities there are few churches and not many believers. In the summer of 2011, OM Sweden will launch a short-term programme called "Ignite Sweden". Members will receive a week’s orientation in Jönköping and then split into teams that will go to Stockholm and Malmö.
Thank You for the beautiful country of Sweden, with its forests and lakes. We pray that Your light will penetrate this spiritually dark country and bring fulfillment and life into a society marked by materialism and suicide. We pray that Your church will be set on fire for You again, reaching out and transforming them communities around them.