Welcome to WeGoInFaith! We’re Matt and Deborah Stanghelle. Matt is leading a church planting team to plant the Presbyterian Church in Norway. Atheism and paganism cover Norway in spiritual darkness. The overwhelming majority of Norwegians are on the road to hell. And many Christians in Norway are sheep without shepherds. Norway desperately needs the gospel to be preached and healthy churches planted. So 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 internationals might enjoy Him forever.
Our mission is to plant the Presbyterian Church in Norway by establishing healthy, Christ-centered churches, through the ordinary means of expository preaching, biblical worship, and devoting ourselves to prayer, discipleship and evangelism.
Four goals outline the mission.
Plant an International Church in Stavanger
We are currently preparing to plant First Presbyterian Church of Norway in Stavanger, the third largest city-region in Norway and home to an international oil industry and NATO’s Joint Warfare Center. We have a core group of Norwegians and internationals waiting for us to move to Stavanger to lead the church plant: FPCNorway.org.
Expand Gospel Ministry to Norwegians
We are connected to a growing network of Norwegians who are hungry for the gospel and sound doctrine. One way we are advancing this cause is by our team of Norwegians who are translating the Westminster Standards into Norwegian for the first time. We built WestminsterStandards.org as a platform to host this translation.
Form a Church Planting Network
We desire to see Presbyterian church plants in Norway’s six major city regions. We pray that God would help us get international church planters into those regions as well as use us to raise up a new generation of Norwegian pastors and planters.
Establish a Norwegian Presbyterian Denomination
We pray that through this church planting movement, God would allow us to partner with others to establish a healthy, and much needed, evangelical Presbyterian denomination—the Presbyterian Church in Norway.
We go in faith to Norway resting in our sovereign God who delights to build his church and to do so in ways far more abundantly than all that we could ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20-21)!
Stavanger is a beautiful and thriving international port city on Norway’s southwest seaboard. It is the 3rd largest city region in Norway with 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’s Norwegian citizens love art, music, culture and the outdoors They are warm and creative. Community relationships and ecological stewardship are high values. While Norwegians are lovely people, most are walking in spiritual darkness.
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. Military service and international business can be incredibly lonely for workers and their families.
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. Additionally, many Norwegians are returning to their pre-Christian viking-pagan roots. In fact, 71% of Norwegians self-identify as atheists or pagans.
In contrast, a very high percentage of Norwegians have formal membership with the liberal and 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. The prosperity gospel is very prevalent and some of the more popular churches, including the largest church in Norway, do not preach sin or hell from the pulpit. And some Norwegians have to drive 2-3 hours to go to a church that preaches expositionally from the Bible (expositional preaching is making the main point of a Bible passage the main point of the sermon in contrast to man-centered topical sermons). Bible-believing Christians in Norway have been described as sheep without shepherds.
So in the main, the vast majority of Norwegians are on the road to hell, oblivious, apathetic or antagonistic towards God, while many others are sitting in churches where sin and hell are not even preached! Still others are praying that God would send them preachers and churches where Christ is proclaimed and God’s Word is obeyed. We do praise God for the evangelicals in Norway preaching the gospel of Christ. But their number is very small and they need help. Norway is in darkness and they need the light of Christ. Imagine what it would be like to have to drive 2-3 hours to go to a church where the Bible is faithfully preached on a Sunday!
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 is a team effort! God is calling many to partner with us as goers and senders. By “goers” we mean people who will be literally leaving everything to plant churches with us. By “senders” we mean those who will be supporting the mission through prayer and sacrificial financial giving. We pray that you would be among this number!
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. Jonas is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). His family is from the Stavanger city region where we will be church planting. We also have a core team of Norwegians and internationals in the city who are waiting for us to come to church plant in Stavanger.
Our sending agency is the the Ministry to the Military & International (MMI) which belongs to the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).
Ministry to the Military and International (MMI) specializes in planting international churches in cities with American military service members, international business workers and nationals. International churches draw many kinds of people together; even non-Christians coming to work on their English! This strategic ministry is highly effective for discipleship and evangelism.
Matt is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). The 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.” MMI is a commission of the Southeast Alabama Presbytery in the PCA.
Send Us to Norway in 2019
The overwhelming majority of Norwegians are on the road to hell. Atheism and paganism cover Norway in spiritual darkness. And many Christians are sheep without shepherds. Norway desperately needs the gospel to be preached and healthy churches planted.
God has called us to go and we ask you to consider if he is calling you to send us. Our core team is waiting in Stavanger and we need your help to get there.
Help us get to Norway in 2019.
You can join the team online 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 “Matt Stanghelle – Stavanger, Norway”.
Physical checks can be mailed to:
Ministry to the Military and International
P.O. Box 4247
Montgomery, AL, 36101
Important: For physical checks, make them payable to “Ministry to the Military and International” and please include a note that your gift is designated for “Matt Stanghelle—Stavanger, Norway.”
“And how are they to preach unless they are sent?” Romans 10:15