Population: 319,000 (2011)
Official languages: Icelandic, Icelandic Sign Language
Major religion: Christianity
IFES movement: Kristilega Skolahreyfingin (KSH)
Iceland is an island where almost two thirds of the population lives in the capital city area on the south west coast. The country is recovering well from the banking crisis of 2008 but morale is quite low and there is a great need for rebuilding of trust in the government and financiers.
Being a Christian in Iceland is sometimes easy but it is also sometimes lonely. Religious freedom is held in high regard. There is a strong national church to which almost 80% of the population belongs, but there are few active Christians.
- 3 universities in the country: University of Iceland (UofI), University of Reykjavik (UofR) and University of Akureyri (UofA)
- 1 KSH group serving the UofI and the UofR (30 members)
- 1 part-time staff worker, 15 volunteers
- high school ministry - around 100 members
In the last 4 years KSH has been remodelling their student ministry and putting a greater emphasis on student evangelism. From 2008 they have grown from having only a few active members to having almost 30.
The greatest strength of the movement is volunteer engagement - as there is only one part-time staff worker they must depend on student volunteers. The main challenge is getting students to engage more actively with fellow students on their campuses.
View from the inside
Jón Ómar Gunnarsson is the General Secretary of KSH. He says of his call to student ministry, ‘I feel a strong sense of urgency. We must get the message out that God so loves the world that he has given his only son Jesus Christ.’
Jón Ómar’s ministry and vision have been inspired by Philippians 1.6: ‘being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.’
- that God would carry on the good work he has started in KSH students and carry it on to completion;
- for financial provision so that KSH could take on more staff;
- for students who are Christian in name only to be touched by Christ, and turn to him.