Although Swedish history is obscure before the end of the ninth century A.D., it is clear some Germanic tribes inhabited parts of the country. Vikings landed in Sweden and planted many colonies, and in the 1500s Sweden’s people groups became more united and began a period of expansion throughout Scandinavia. Sweden took part in the Thirty Years’ War and later opposed Napoleon. However, modern governments in the nineteenth 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 tenth century, and Olaf Skötkonung was the first Swedish tribal king to convert to Christianity. Lewi Pethrus began the Swedish Pentecostal Movement around 1906, which since has planted hundreds of churches and formed 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 AGWM missionaries assist with university and Muslim ministries.
The Movement Today
By 1989, 830 Swedish Pentecostal missionaries were working in 40 countries, and today Swedish Pentecostal churches continue to emphasize missions. There are approximately 480 Pentecostal churches with a membership of 89,321 and approximately 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 churches and believers.
Additional Facts About Sweden
Area: 173,859 square miles
Agriculture: barley, wheat, sugar beets, meat, and milk
Mining and Manufacturing: iron and steel, precision equipment, motor vehicles, processed food, and paper products
Ethnic Groups: Swedes with Finnish and Sami minorities; most common countries of origin among immigrants: Syria, Finland, Iraq, Poland, and Iran
Official language: Swedish