Although Swedish history before the end of the 9th century AD is obscure, it is clear that some Germanic tribes did inhabit parts of the country. Vikings landed in Sweden and planted many colonies. Later, in the 1500s, Sweden’s people groups were more united and began a period of expansion throughout Scandinavia. Sweden took part in the Thirty Years War and also opposed Napoleon. However, modern governments in the 19th century decided to stay out of European conflicts, declaring—and successfully maintaining—neutrality in both World Wars. Sweden joined the European Union in 1995 and today remains a successful trading nation with a constitutional monarchy.
Christianity was introduced to the Swedes in the 10th century. Olaf Skotkonung was the first Swedish tribal king to convert. Lewi Pethrus began the Swedish Pentecostal Movement from 1906 which has planted hundreds of churches and form a large body of believers. Since 2002, a majority of the Pentecostal churches have formed a loosely affiliated association. The Assemblies of God has maintained fraternal relations with the Pentecostal Movement in Sweden and work together on literature, humanitarian, and media projects. No Assemblies of God missionaries currently reside in Sweden, but do assist with university ministries and Muslim ministries.
The Movement Today
By 1989, 830 Swedish Pentecostal missionaries were working in 40 countries. Pentecostal Swedish churches continue to emphasize missions. There are approximately 480 Pentecostal churches with a membership of 89,321, and up to 900 ministers. There are a number of one and two year Bible schools as well as some local church schools. Several of Sweden’s government officials are Pentecostals, raising hopes that the gospel can be shared more publicly by the churches and believers.
Additional Facts About Sweden
- Capital: Stockholm
- Area: 173,732 square miles
- Population: 8,878,085
- Agriculture: Grains, potatoes and sugar beets
- Mining and Manufacturing: Steel, precision equipment, vehicles, processed food and paper
- Ethnic Groups: Swedish (89 percent) and Finnish (two percent)
- Languages: Swedish