Help us plant the Presbyterian Church in Norway for the first time in history. Matt and Deborah Stanghelle are leading a team to establish the Presbyterian Church in Norway and we invite you to join the mission.
We say “the” Presbyterian church because no Presbyterian or confessionally Reformed church exists in Norway. We go in faith to plant the first presbyterian church in the city of Stavanger. But more than that, we go to help establish a network of presbyterian church plants, and perhaps even a denomination—The Presbyterian Church in Norway.
Read below to learn about the vision and how you can support the mission to plant the Presbyterian Church in Norway to glorify God that Norwegians and Expats might enjoy him forever.
Our mission is to plant the Presbyterian Church in Norway to glorify God that Norwegians and Expats might enjoy Him forever. Four phases summarize the mission.
Plant an International Church in Stavanger
The initial phase is to establish an international, English-speaking Presbyterian church in Stavanger, Norway for expatriates and English-speaking Norwegians.
Expand Outreach to Norwegians
The midterm phase is to grow in our proficiency of the Norwegian language and expand our relationships with Norwegians living in Stavanger for the sake of greater gospel-outreach.
Facilitate A Church Planting Network
The longterm phase is to network with others to facilitate the planting of more Presbyterian churches. Particular focus will be on Norway’s other major city regions: Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim, Kristiansand and Tromsø.
Establish a Denomination
The final phase is to partner with others to establish a new denomination. It may be to establish a European or Scandinavian denomination with other existing European Presbyterian churches. Or, God-willing, it may even be to establish a national denomination—The Presbyterian Church in Norway.
Our prayer is that we would see this vision fulfilled in our lifetime. Therefore, resting in the sovereign grace of our God, we go in faith with the prayer of Paul in our hearts–“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Eph. 3:20-21).
Positioned in the coastal fjordland of Norway’s southwest seaboard, Stavanger is a beautiful and thriving international port city. It is the 3rd largest city region in Norway at 320,000 inhabitants. The region is projected to surpass 400,000 by 2030. English is the trade language widely spoken by internationals and Norwegians.
Stavanger’s English-speaking, international climate creates a strategic gospel-location for reaching Norwegians and expatriates. English-speaking church planting is effective because English is the glue that holds Norwegians and expatriates together. Like New Testament times, when Greek was the trade language that allowed the gospel to spread throughout the Roman Empire, so it is today with English in a Global marketplace.
Stavanger hosts a thriving international business community. Oil is one of the major industries bringing international workers. The city is also home to NATO’s Joint Warfare Center.
Stavanger’s Norwegian citizens love art, music, culture and the outdoors. They are warm and creative. Community relationships and ecological stewardship are high values.
Why Norway? At first glance, it looks like one of the most Christian nations in Europe. However, Norway is not immune to the secularizing influences spreading through the continent. Atheists and agnostics account for a large and growing segment of the population.
A very high percentage of Norwegians have formal membership with the former Lutheran state church—the Church of Norway. However, a 2009 study showed that only 2.9% of its members attend each Sunday. Sixteen smaller denominations and Christian groups comprise less than 7% of the total population.
There is no Presbyterian or confessionally Reformed church in Norway. We believe Reformed theology offers a magnificent and much needed expression of the glory of God in the gospel of Christ Jesus. And we firmly believe that it provides the hope and the joy that Norwegians and Expats need most.
Church of Norway
Church of Norway Weekly Attendance
Catholic, Orthodox & Other Protestants
Presbyterian & Confessionally Reformed
Believe There is a God
Believe there is a Life Force or Spirit
Don't Believe in God, Life Force or Spirit
Note: Statistics by Statistisk Sentralbyrå, “Members of Christian Communities Outside the Church of Norway” (2017), the European Commission, “Eurobarometer Report on Biotechnology” (2010), and the Stavanger Aftenblad newspaper (2009). Note: “Presbyterian” should not be confused with “Presbyterian-Methodist.” There is a presbyterian-methodist church in Oslo, but this movement has no connection with what is traditionally understood as Presbyterianism. Traditional Presbyterianism is rooted in the theological tradition of the Westminster Confession of Faith. Note: “Confessionally Reformed” means a church that formally adopts one of the historic Reformed confessional statements: the Westminster Standards or the Three Forms of Unity. While no confessionally Reformed church exists in Norway, we do praise God that there are a few Reformed-leaning churches and believers in Norway with whom we have interacted.
Planting the Presbyterian Church in Norway will be the work of many churches and believers. We need help in the field and around the world.
In the field, we are partnering with a Norwegian family, Jonas and Pattie Stava. Jonas is the first Norwegian to graduate from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. His family is from the Stavanger city region where we will be church planting.
But we also need your help. This mission will not happen without the financial support of many churches and believers partnering with us at home and abroad. Three groups are particularly important: the Ministry to the Military & International, the Presbyterian Church in America, and ministry partners like you.
Matt is a Teaching Elder in the Southeast Alabama Presbytery and he is serving his call with the Ministry to the Military and International (MMI). MMI is a commission of the Southeast Alabama Presbytery which is part of the Presbyterian Church in America. MMI specializes in planting international churches in cities with American military service members.
The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) is an evangelical Presbyterian denomination representing the historic Reformed faith. The PCA is “faithful to the Scriptures, true to the Reformed faith, and obedient to the Great Commission.”
Ministry Partners like You
We need your help. We will move to Norway as soon as we are fully funded. Consider being a channel of God’s grace in Norway as a financial partner. Your contributions go directly to sending and keeping us in the field. So we invite you to partner with us in glorifying God that Norwegians and Expats might enjoy him forever.
This is a historic moment. Help us establish the Presbyterian Church in Norway for the first time in history. May God do abundantly more than all we could ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20-21).
Join our financial support team by selecting the button below. This link will take you to the donations page for the Ministry to the Military and International (MMI). On that page, choose “Stavanger-Matt Stanghelle” to support our ministry.