With interest I have been reading the series about Livets Ord in the Christian Daily “Dagen”. (Here, here, here, here and here). My interest is not geared towards getting to know more about this church and its ministries; my interest is focused on learning how God has used their ministry and calling for the well being of the nation and our world.
Although one can make some footnotes and have some reservations about some of the early weaknesses and “unbalanced” aspects of their ministry, my opinion is that this ministry overall has been (is) a tremendous blessing to the nation and Christianity at large. The main purpose I see in an evaluation document after 25 years of ministry is to learn from it. What can we learn as Body of Christ in Sweden?
From the top of my head I am compelled to make a couple of quick observations:
1. It is possible to plant and build churches and ministries in Sweden today. I decided to start with this statement because we are surely not spoiled with positive reports about what is doing. After 25 years we can say: Livets Ord is established and has not lost its zeal and purpose!
2. It takes vision, determination, faithfulness and leadership well anchored in God to be able to make a difference in a spiritual hostile climate in secularized Sweden. One of my observations since I first arrived here in Sweden is that too many leaders and ministries come and go, many leaders lack one or more of the aspects which I mentioned earlier. Ulf Ekman does not lack these qualities and therefore he is able to build something lasting.
3. Leadership is built on character and transformation in a person’s life. In this last document about money it becomes quite clear that Ulf Ekman is not into ministry to become rich! He earns a good salary, (and he should!) as he is taking responsibility for such a demanding ministry! Money and the love of money are a good measurement of the character of a person; the way Ulf Ekman has passed on the right on royalties on his books and products to the ministry speaks for him! I would trust him with my wallet!
4. Some voices in the article talk about the emphasis on financial giving. First of all I believe that we speak too little about our finances in Sweden. There is really little transparency about what we earn and what we do with our finances. This whole area is privatized, it is in hiding… The Body of Christ in Sweden would be well off to address the area of financial accountability and giving because it is a spiritual stronghold. (Read more about consumerism and accountability here and here). Secondly I want us to realize that Livets Ord has used much of their income on missions, they have not spent it on themselves! For more reading about accountability check here>
Ulf, if you would ever read this… we only met once and shook hands on the stage of the Jesusmanifestationen… I appreciate all you have done for us and our nation. Thanks for your faithfulness and your commitment to follow the exhortation of the writer of Hebrews:
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12: 1-3)
That’s the Way I see it (when there is more to say I will continue on this subject).