Brunstad Christian Church is a dynamic assembly where there are many things happening during the course of a week. What is happening, and how do people experience the things that happen? Get to know six people from the church in Østfold, Norway, and follow them through one week.
Click on the pictures and allow them to introduce themselves!
Sandra Østberg (17)
Arild Ådalen (53)
Silje Schmidt (29)
Sigve Hansen (10)
Elisabeth Gangsø (71)
Alexander Tombre (20)
6:00 p.m. – Activity Club ()
It is 6:00 in the evening and excited children and youth are pouring into BKM Østfold’s Church facility, Furuheim, near Fredrikstad. Each Tuesday at this time, they get together to have a really fun time.
SIGVE: “I love Activity Club. – That is what I look forward to most every week. I am in a group called “Outdoors,” and we are outside every single time, no matter what the weather is like. We do many different activities such as cave exploration, playing cops and robbers, skating, sledding, and hiking in the forest. I think the best part of Activity Club is being with my friends, and having so much fun.”
“I love Activity Club. – That is what I look forward to most every week."
SANDRA: “I remember how much it meant to me to go to the Activity Club when I was little. I especially remember all my Activity Club leaders. They gave me their full attention, and did so much to make it fun for me. I also want to be an Activity Club leader like that.”
ALEXANDER: “I have been going to the Activity Club since I was little. What I remember most is how much I looked up to my Activity Club leaders. They were my best friends – including when they had spare time. They took me with them to do all kinds of fun things when I was 11-12 years old. That meant so much for me! So obviously, I also want to be an Activity Club leader, to give back. And it is just fun to be with the children. We are best buddies in the same way my leaders were to me. It is not an age restricted friendship.”
"It is just fun to be with the children. We are best buddies in the same way my leaders were to me. It is not an age restricted friendship.”
After Activity Club is over, there are many people still left at Furuheim. Tomorrow there will be a church feast, so the meeting hall needs to look good. The youth under age 18 take care of the cleaning jobs. With regularly scheduled routines, every nook and cranny is cleaned and polished. The job is done with surprising enthusiasm and positive attitudes.
SANDRA: “Bring on the feast! It is spotless here!”
21:45 – Soccer practice
We go to the big artificial turf field in the Østfold hall. Everyone who wants to play soccer comes here each week.
ALEXANDER: “The game today was excellent. We had to work hard, but we won in the end. There were many difficult duels today, but that is part of a soccer match. I think it is really fun to play soccer on Tuesday evenings. We play some soccer at other times as well, but on Tuesdays, it is always especially fun to play. The competition is more intense than usual, and it is more of a serious game.”
SANDRA: “The game today was perfect! I have to say I had some challenges out on the field, but they went quite well, I think. I really enjoy playing soccer each Tuesday evening! I love playing soccer! Especially when there are a lot of us. Then it’s pretty cool.”
“When the competition is so stiff, then it is often really easy to get a little upset, but here we also have a really good opportunity to be saved from being angry and grumpy."
(...) ALEXANDER: “When the competition is so stiff, then it is often really easy to get a little upset, but here we also have a really good opportunity to be saved from being angry and grumpy. If you are tackled a little roughly, or you think someone on the team isn’t playing so well, it’s easy to start getting uptight. But then you have a golden opportunity to get rid of your anger, so that next time I want to get mad, I can instead smile and say something encouraging. That is when the game starts to get fun.”
7:00 p.m.: Church feast
People who are ready for a feast start entering the decorated hall at Furuheim. The theme of the feast is the fundraising campaign for a new meeting hall for the friends in Østfold. Inspirational and encouraging speeches, good food, great music, and an amazing spirit of generosity permeates .
SILJE: “It’s super fun to be along here. I love when there is a feast. And it is really special to experience the unity that everyone here has – despite our age differences and different interests. We love being together and being built up in our faith. At feasts, meetings, and work parties, we get a taste of heaven. That’s how I see it.”
"We love being together and being built up in our faith."
ARILD: “I’m left with a deep thankfulness after a feast like that. I feel honored to be allowed to be along. The best thing about feasts like this, and work parties and things like that is that it does something to us. It means more for us than just having a good time, the good food, etc. The most important is what it does for us. It awakens us to our heavenly calling, and is a help for us to see ourselves to a greater degree, and be more and more saved from the negative tendencies that are in our negative nature. In addition, it brings us closer together – and strengthens the fellowship among us.”
"It means more for us than just having a good time, the good food, etc. The most important is what it does for us. It awakens us to our heavenly calling. "
ELISABETH: “I feel very privileged that I am allowed to be along here. I am old and I can’t do so much volunteer work, but do whatever I can with all of my heart. At this feast, we had a really fun auction in addition to selling raffle tickets and similar things. So, I participated in that, you know. And of course I am along with my prayers. I pray for the young people, and I pray for the people with responsibility.”
SANDRA: “I am usually one of the servers at feasts. It’s super fun. The thing I took with me from this feast is that I also want to be along with my whole heart. I sign up for work parties, of course. For me it goes without saying that I need to be along and give something back to the church. I get back so many times more than what I give. And I’m really looking forward to the new meeting hall being completed.”
ALEXANDER: “It was really fun. I really enjoy being along and working. It’s all fun. In addition, it really helps me take my mind off of myself and my own ego. Also, it is a great advantage to have learned how to work hard when you are looking for a job; I have experienced that. But basically, working together with all my good friends is just fun.”
7:00pm: Youth meeting
Friday means for the young people in BKM Østfold.
"At youth meetings we hear the gospel explained in a way that is easy for us youth to understand – plus afterwards we have a good time together in the evening."
ALEXANDER: “Youth meetings are the highlight of the week. I think that’s true for all the young people. We have a lot of fun activities throughout a week, but the youth meeting is sort of the young people’s evening. Then we hear the gospel explained in a way that is easy for us youth to understand – plus afterwards we have a good time together in the evening. Some people play music and sing; others play games or relax in the coffee bar; while still others play soccer, dodge ball or a similar sport.”
SANDRA: “The youth meeting is the highlight of the week! To be able to go to a youth meeting and experience the good atmosphere there after long days at work is awesome. The gospel is to a large degree directed toward us youth at the youth meetings. And being able to hang out with my friends into the evening is just the best.”
"To be able to go to a youth meeting and experience the good atmosphere there after long days at work is awesome."
12:00 noon – Sunday Services
You need to have to complete the week. It is not long before Furuheim is filled with everyone from BKM Østfold who can walk or crawl.
At the same time as the Sunday service, there is also for all children ages three to twelve years old.
SIGVE: “At Sunday School, we learn about what is written in the Bible. We learn to be kind, helpful, etc. I really like Sunday School. What I enjoy most is when the adults do skits of what we are learning about, for example how we can become happy.”
SANDRA: “The edification at the meetings is of course very important. There I receive help to overcome during the day. I play in the music at the meetings, and I like that a lot because I get to sit close to those who are speaking.”
SILJE: “At the meetings, I hear the Word spoken clearly. There I get refueled with power in the Spirit that I can take home with me. I need that during my days. I have five small children, and I am an example to for them – their shepherd. It is there, in the small circumstances, that I have the opportunity to live the Word I hear. It doesn’t help just to sit and nod in agreement at the meetings if I don’t take it home with me to put it into practice. It is impossible to be an example for the children just by speaking words. They can see through hypocrisy.”
"It doesn’t help just to sit and nod in agreement at the meetings if I don’t take it home with me to put it into practice. It is impossible to be an example for the children just by speaking words. They can see through hypocrisy.”
ALEXANDER: “The edification is very meaningful for me. There I am filled with God’s Spirit. During the day I think about what I heard at the meeting, and maybe especially what I testified about. But it is very important that I fill myself with God’s Spirit on my own also – that I stay near to God in my thoughts – and seek a relationship with Him through prayer and through reading the Bible and other edifying Christian literature. I need that connection with God to keep myself pure from the negative thoughts that can pop up during the course of a day.
Nothing is better than this life. It means everything to me. Life becomes very different when you really know God. Life becomes incomprehensibly interesting. It cannot be described – it just has to be experienced.”
ARILD: “Ever since I was young, the church and God’s Word have meant everything to me. In the church I have seen people whose lives strongly appealed to me – I saw that they were so happy. Therefore, at a young age I decided to give my life to God. Later, it was the gospel about being set free from sin that bound me. And that has given me incredible joy. It works in my practical life. It has worked in all the trials I have been in throughout my whole life.
In John 15:5 & 7 Jesus says, ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.’ I have experienced this – when you do this, it is not difficult in your daily life to follow God and the prophetic Word we hear from the prophets ”.
ELISABETH: “I feel like we are the most privileged people in the world who are allowed to sit at meetings like these where we can drink of God’s Spirit. I am extremely excited. I often weep with thankfulness when I think about everything God has done for me. He blesses me in so many ways. Just think, I am allowed to have heaven within me instead of being oppressed by anxiety, and demanding that my life should be a certain way. Now, instead of that, I am chock-full of thankfulness and joy.”
“I feel like we are the most privileged people in the world who are allowed to sit at meetings like these where we can drink of God’s Spirit."