5 years in Sweden…

by Aaron on February 9, 2012


In the beginning of church planting every thing is exciting.

“We started with 8 people in the core-group and now we are 22 people in the church plant!  It’s great to see growth!  WOW!! We are going from one cell-group (10-15 people) to two cell-groups!!!  Amazing!!  We had a great conversation with the neighboring churches and they want us to help share the Gospel too!!  Praise God!!  SWEET!!!  We just had a conversation with the people in the local café and they are so friendly, and now we can start a language café there!!  God is moving!!”

Those are just some examples of what I have experienced in the last few months.  I have found that starting a new church has opened my eyes to see what I miss from time to time.  Since “Brunnen” (Swedish for The Well) started I have seen God move in ways I never thought possible.  Or the reality very well might be is that He has been moving all this time, I just didn’t notice…or, I was not expecting Him to do anything.  In a new church there is NOTHING to start from.  There are no boards or committees to help, there are no members to do the odd jobs, there is no one to lead worship, there is no Sunday service…there is NOTHING.  But that is the very miracle with church planting: it is an awakening to the reality that God is still in the creating business. Genesis tell us that God created the heavens and the earth, God created something out of nothing.  If He can do that at on the large of scale of things then He can do it within a new church and in our own lives as well.


10 years ago, Brunnen was nothing. 2 years ago, God started an idea in His people.  6 months ago, Brunnen had 8 people in a core-group and we now have 22 people who are involved in the church one way or another and 15 of those are in DNA-groups.  During those 6 months we have not only grown in numbers but we have focused hard on building a community since Brunnen is “a church through community” (as our slogan says).  Through this we have started DNA-groups (mini-cell-groups) of 2-3 people.  In my DNA-group I have been challenged and encouraged in my faith:

  • I have been challenged to share a meal with non-Christians.
  • I have been encouraged to sit down with my wife and talk what we want with our faith and how we fit into “church” life in general (a good converation for a pastor to have with his bride/her husband…and frequently!!!  Wink).
  • I have been challenged to listen to the voice of God’s Holy Spirit; to hear what He wants Aaron to do and not just Aaron doing what he thinks should happen.
  • I have been prayed for, asking God to help me found out why I feel bitter and sometimes hopeless.
  • I have experienced God answering our group’s prayers…literally seeing prayer changing our lives…mine included.
  • I have had a chance to dive into God’s Word in a whole new way.
  • In my DNA-group I have found the heart of what church is all about: Jesus and not us.
  • I have been encouraged by the Scripture: “Where two or three people meet together in my name, I am there with them,” says Jesus in Matthew 18:20.  That even if there is only 2 of us, Jesus is there and He is using us and His Word to form us and encourage us to be made more and more into His image.


It is an exciting thing to be a part of a DNA-group and a new church. It opens one’s eyes to what one really burns for.  As I look back at my 5 years in Sweden, I reflect and wonder: “was it worth it…IS it worth it?”  Does it make sense that Aaron has left his family and friends to be in a foreign country??  ABSOLUTELY!!  Not only did I find my wife here in Sweden, but I am forming a family of my own (but I still miss my fam in MN).  I have had my up’s and my down’s but celebrating 5 years in Sweden makes me realize my heart of hearts: my passion.  I love working for the Church, but I love working for Jesus even more!  By being a part of Brunnen, God has changed me and is helping me find my passion for ministry again (I thought I lost it).

Six years ago when I was doing my internship as a chaplain at St. Joseph’s Hostpital in Chicago, my mentor gave me a gift.  This gift was a nicely framed piece of paper with the words from Father Pedro (written below)…my mentor Father Norman and I had spent most of our time talking about our passions for Christ’s church. The gift He gave me still speaks to my heart today:

“Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the mornings, what you will do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.”

-Father Pedro Arrupe, S.J.

Today, I remember my passion and what I am in love with:  helping people experience Jesus and watching their lives change as a result.  It just makes sense that I love church planting so much.  Perhaps we, the Church, might need to relook at our passions…perhaps each of us should experience a little bit of church planting, because it makes us desperate for God, because when we are desperate then we understand just how much we need Him.


What is your passion?


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4 Responses to “5 years in Sweden…”

  • LaVonne Thompson says:

    AMAZING!! Loved to hear about the church plant…never thought about a new church plant like that before…starting with NOTHING…no boards, no
    committees, no help..what a step of FAITH and TRUST. (might be easier too:):)

    Who would of thought Father Norman would have had such an affect on your
    life…so glad we were able to meet him too. Wonder where he is right now, he would love to read this!!

    You are right I need to relook at my passions…thanks! Being here with Jenelle and helping her get ready for Liberia has made me think…who knew her nursing would take her to a clinic there, it’s truly her passion!!
    I have been blessed Lord and reminded of my passion…youth..bible studies..sharing my faith. You are right we need to be desperate for GOD!
    Love you Aaron….miss you too! Mom

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  • Aaron says:

    Thanks Mom for your encouraging words. I think Father Norman was at Georgetown University in D.C. last I heard.

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  • Kim K says:

    Hej Aaron!

    Praise the Lord for all that He has done with the church plant and in your life! What you wrote gave me “food for thought.” I need to relook at my passions as well as not allow the enemy to get in the way! Over and over again, I have been in a place to be desperate for Him. Thanks for the reminder to be desperate for God! How awesome for everyone to think about the things you wrote! Thanks, also, for sharing your heart – your ups and downs. Authenticity is the key! Blessings to you and Brunnen! Kim

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  • Aaron says:

    Thanks Kim for your thoughts! Press on toward the goal!!

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