Bio for Commissioning service* at Camp Meeting may 2010
Kirsten Øster Lundqvist
Kirsten effectively demonstrates in her life the effect of Adventist Diaspora and Mission. Born in Sweden in 1968 she spent most of her formative years in Denmark but with periods in the USA, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
The oldest of four children she is a fifth generation Adventist – many of her forebears having been in Adventist ministry. Thus it is hardly surprising that by the age of eight she was already feeling a call to ministry. When she was baptised on her 18th Birthday at Vejlefjord School in Denmark by her uncle, Pastor Sigvald Christensen, she says, “I knew that I wanted to live my adult life with God.”
She studied Religion and Communication at Newbold College because she felt strongly that her church needs people who can communicate better with an unchurched world. This was the late 80’s and the debate surrounding women in ministry was very active. At times she found this to extremely discouraging and is probably the reason why, in the early years, her ministry took more of a direction in communications and media ministry rather than congregational ministry. Yet the call to ministry was so strong that she continued to train and explore where God wanted her to serve.
During her student days at Newbold she was diagnosed with cancer and was told she would not survive. She was 20 years old. She says, “I knew that as God had spared me, my Creator had a plan with my life, God was not done with me and all I could respond with was ‘Lord I am at your service I’ll go where you call’”.
Newbold College offered Kirsten a place to grow and make lifelong friends, who despite now being on different continents, have been a strong influence and support throughout, both her professional and personal life. Upon Graduating in 1991 taught English at Ekebyholm School, Sweden before moving to Andrews University and Seminary to pursue an interdisciplinary MA in Communications and Religion.
In 1994 she started to work as a pastor with the communications department of the Danish Union, and while there got involved with Youth Ministry and Church Planting. Two years later, on 1 January 1996 she married Karsten Lundqvist. With both of them involved in youth ministry, they were part of the core team that planted the Copenhagen Cafechurch and started the cafe church movement in 1998.
In 2000 she received a call to a different ministry, to be the director and manager of an Adventist church/college radio station at Tyrifjord, Norway. Not having worked with radio before this was a surprise from God. The ministry included training and mentoring teens in media outreach as they worked at the station. By this time church planting was in her blood and so she again became involved in a church plant, ‘Cornelius‘, in Oslo.
With her background in Radio and Media she felt God’s call again in 2002 as she joined the team of Adventist World Radio at their European headquarters in Binfield. At AWR she was a producer, presenter and journalist of global programmes that shared or ‘gossiped’ the gospel to a largely non-Christian audience around the world. Sadly financial decisions and a change of emphasis saw AWR close its Global English Service at the end of 2004. January 2005 Kirsten used her media, communication and organisational skills to work for several months with the ADRA tsunami response team in Indonesia. “Waiting to see where God wanted me,” she says, “I felt clearly that God asked me to wait and stay in England.” In early 2006 she was asked to join the pastoral staff at Newbold Church and Central London Church. This later narrowed to being full time with the Newbold Church district. She says, “I have felt blessed as God continues to stretch my ministry experience in ways only God can.”
During this time she has also been pastoral sponsor of Thames Valley Youth Federation, and the Polish group in UK as well as receiving invitations to speak and share ministry in Australia, USA, The Netherlands, Sweden, France, and Denmark. While her ministry is more congregational, there still is a media aspect as she continues to minister through various medias especially Social Networking to reach more People for Gods Kingdom. Together with her husband, Karsten, she recently had her paper, “Facebook Faith”, was published at Andrews University.
Kirsten feels blessed to have a supportive and diverse church community. She says, “I’m grateful for the support of the senior pastor at Newbold; Patrick Johnson along with a myriad of other colleagues who have been supportive.” She is also blessed “to be happily married and to have the support of a wonderful husband who has followed my calling across countries, putting his career on hold.” Karsten is currently defending his PHd thesis in Computer Science and works as a Scientist and Researcher at the University of Reading. Kirsten concludes, “I couldn’t have done it without his ongoing support. I’m continually humbled that God has called and equipped me to ministry and I’m grateful to the SEC for their support and affirmation in my ministry.”
*Commisioning is the affirmation of a female minister in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. As there at this time in history is no officially recognised Ordination to Ministry for women in the Adventist Church.