Welcome to WeGoInFaith.org! Pastor Matt Stanghelle is leading a church planting team to plant the Presbyterian Church in Norway for the first time in history 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 First Presbyterian Church of Norway in the city of Stavanger. But more than that, we go to partner with others to establish a network of presbyterian church plants that we pray will lead to a Norwegian Presbytery or even, God-willing, a denomination—the Presbyterian Church in Norway.
The chief end of this church planting mission is to proclaim Christ throughout the land of Norway in order to glorify God that Norwegians and Expats might enjoy Him forever.
So read below to learn about the vision and how you can support the mission to plant the Presbyterian Church in Norway, for the first time in history, for the glory of God and the joy of God’s people in a land desperate for the hope of the gospel of Christ.
Our mission is to plant the Presbyterian Church in Norway for the first time in history by planting healthy, Christ-centered churches, through the ordinary means of expository preaching and Reformed worship, celebrating the sacraments, and devoting ourselves to prayer, equipping and evangelism.
Four phases outline the mission.
Plant an International Church in Stavanger
Phase one is to establish an international, English-speaking Presbyterian church in Stavanger—an international port-city where English is the trade language that holds expatriates and Norwegians together. In addition to being the 3rd largest city region in Norway, Stavanger is home to the NATO Joint Warfare Center and a global oil industry bringing American military and oil executives to the city. This makes Stavanger a strategic location for reaching Norwegians and expatriates.
Expand Outreach to Norwegians
Phase two is to grow in our proficiency of the Norwegian language and expand our relationships with Norwegians living in Stavanger. However, because the Lord has added a Norwegian to our team (read below), we are already connected to an entire network of Norwegians, bringing this phase right up to the present!
Establish a Presbytery
Phase three is to establish a presbytery by facilitating church plants in all six major city regions. We will do this by networking with European and American church planters seeking to plant in country. We will also do this by training and partnering with Reformed educational institutions to equip a new generation of Norwegian pastors in expository preaching, Reformed hermeneutics and theology and pastoral care.
Establish a Denomination
Phase four is to partner with others to establish a new denomination. It may be to form 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’s Norwegian citizens love art, music, culture and the outdoors. They are warm and creative. Community relationships and ecological stewardship are high values.
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.
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.
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 church planting movement will not happen without the financial support of churches, believers and institutions partnering with us around the world. Three groups are particularly important: the Ministry to the Military & International, the Presbyterian Church in America, and ministry partners like you.
Pastor Matt is an ordained Teaching Elder and Evangelist in the Southeast Alabama Presbytery. 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 (PCA). MMI specializes in English-speaking, international church planting in cities with American expatriates and military service members in addition to reaching indigenous populations.
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.”
Mission Partners Like You
Thank you for your interest in supporting the mission to plant the Presbyterian Church in Norway. Jesus Christ is the hope of all nations! And so we invite you to consider being a financial partner to help us proclaim Christ throughout the land of Norway to glorify God that Norwegians and Expats might enjoy Him forever.
This is a historic moment. We have the opportunity to establish the Presbyterian Church in Norway for the first time in history. And may God do abundantly more than all we could ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20-21)!
But we need your help. Consider being a channel of God’s grace in Norway through your prayers and financial giving. Your support goes directly to sending and keeping Pastor Matt and his family in the field.
You can join the financial support 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” to support the mission.
Physical checks can be mailed to:
Ministry to the Military and International
P.O. Box 4247
Montgomery, AL, 36101
Important: Make checks payable to “Ministry to the Military and International,” and please include a note that your gift is designated for “Matt Stanghelle—Stavanger, Norway.”