Every weekend, an evangelistic group known as the Pancake Church occupies the central square in the Swedish town of Uppsala to hand out free pancakes and share the Gospel about Jesus. For three years now I have had the privilege of leading this group. We’re not an own, independent church but an evangelistic organization that gathers Christians from different churches who want to share the Gospel in a fun and culturally relevant way to the youths of our town.
I can honestly say that every evening is an amazing evening. We get to speak to so many people, pray for them, discuss God and life with them or sing gospel songs with them. We hang out with the poor and homeless as well as the rich and lonely. And the Holy Spirit is with us. We have seen several healings and conversions during the years, and some who have been saved on the streets join us and helps us to further spread the Kingdom of God!
There are over 20 Pancake Churches in Sweden, connected though the Pancake Church National Organization. We print our own Pancake Bibles (which are normal New Testaments with some testimonies and pictures), t-shirts and organize events and summer tours. A friend from the Jesus Army contacted me and wondered how one organizes a local Pancake Church and what one should think about. So here are my tips:
The most important foundation is to have the Holy Spirit and people. Find others who are interested in sharing the Gospel. You don’t have to be super evangelists – in the early church everyone joined the outreaches in the temple courts (Acts 2:46). Pray together and decide which dates and times are most suitable for you. Some Pancake churches go out once a month, others once a week, and some just go out during certain festivals or holidays. Make sure to have the blessing of a church that you can refer converts to, pray with and store stuff at. Check with the local authorities if you need a permit to pancake evangelize.
The practical things you need is usually a table, a tent or umbrella, a grill or (if you can attach to electricity, check with the local authorities) portable stoves, Bibles and Gospel tracts, a sign that says “free pancakes and prayer” or something of that sort, pancake batter, butter, jam, plates and forks. Optional things that are fun to bring: cream, chairs and small tables, lamps, guitarrs and other instruments, speakers for music or preaching, balloons or whatever the Holy Spirit inspires you to bring 🙂 Think about the environment though.
When you go out, remember Peter’s wise words: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15) That is, defend the Gospel, but never without gentleness and respect. Preach both with your ears and mouth – an atheist has a totally different worldview and often need to hear different things than a Muslim or a New Ager. When you pray for someone, always ask before you lay your hand on them, and if a person wants to keep in touch with you and continue the discussion, we recommend not to hand your phone number out to the opposite sex, but in such cases check with someone else in the group to connect. If you’re out late evenings, make sure to walk two by two if you’re going for a burger or a prayer walk, and that people inform the group leaders if they leave.
If the pancakes don’t work, do something else! The important thing is not the pancakes but that the Gospel is being preached. We have found them very effective here in Sweden – everybody loves pancakes – but we have friends in Norway who do waffles instead because pancakes are not such a big thing there. Make sure that it’s popular and that many enjoy it, I usually don’t recommend serving meat since it’s expensive, hurtful for the environment and not relevant for vegetarians. Sandwiches, coffee, falafel or ice cream on the other hand should be useful substitutes.
Contact me if you want more information and/or if you’re starting something up, I will gladly help you out. Blessings!