I think if there was ever a historical movement that the Church in the West needed to take its cues from, its the Celtic Christian movement under the leadership of St. Patrick. Read how George G. Hunter compares the Celtic Christian movement ("missional church") with the then prominent Eastern monastic movement ("traditional church") of its day.
About a year ago, a group of pastors from our region got together to discuss the rolling out of a pre-existing ministry education program together. While discussing the unique challenges and opportunities in the region, it became clear that what they needed was a customized trajectory of training leaders for mission both within and without church walls. I received a phone call later that evening asking me to meet with this group of pastors to assist in the development of the vision. Now, a year later, we are ready to go!
You might have caught the action on our Facebook page but the open-air evangelistic service was INCREDIBLE!
At 11:00am the cars started rolling into Luna Beach, blankets and chairs were being set out on the grass, the band was warming up and despite a weather prediction of 80% chance of rain, the sun was shining!
Many of you know that I am a 4th generation Christian and 3rd generation minister - on both sides of my family. I used to think that made me a little bit more "messed-up" than your average human. Though I haven't been completely convinced otherwise, the older I get the more I realize how valuable my heritage is and how I wouldn't trade it for the world. There's a lot of stories to share but let me briefly share one with you now - one that is still unfolding.
What if God wanted to build His church out there on the fringes? What if those found there one day could be called "oaks of righteousness" and "the planting of the Lord"? It is the very passion of Christ to glorify God out on the fringes and by so doing to "cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations," (Isaiah 61:11). Shouldn't it be our passion as well?
Over the weekend The Gate Netherlands had the privilege of opening our 5th Gate location in the city of Den Helder. It was a packed house as guests from Den Helder as well as from the outlying area came to catch their first glimpse of a project that has been 1 year in the making.
Teams from the newest Gate locations in Den Helder, Anna Paulowna and Stadskanaal, as well as the team from Heerhugowaard (almost 1 year old) came together for the first national Gate training day this past Saturday.
Our training team that day taught 37 volunteers about talking techniques, Gate youth center methods and how to handle some of the more difficult situations one tends to encounter in this line of work.
A couple weeks ago I told you about how the day after our church began meeting in the school building on Sunday morning and praying for the youth, we saw a dramatic flood of youth start pouring into the Gate.
It's still happening.
Up until a few weeks ago, our average daily visitors at the Gate in our city was between 5-10. In the last 3 weeks we have had between 15-30 everyday.
Today we hit 45 youth. Over 90% of them were from outside the church. Obviously we are excited.
But this has never been about numbers and that's why I'm going to ask you to pray right now.
What happens in Holland stays in Holland, right? Not this time.
The Gate (youth outreach center) started 6 years ago in the city of Lisse. In the last year, 2 new Gate locations have opened. In the next 6 months, at least 3 more locations will open. Leaders are being trained in every location. Youth are experiencing the presence of Christ through loving, life-giving community. Change is taking place in Holland.
Bleached-blonde hair. Dark eye shadow. Leather jacket. And a pacifier in her mouth. That's right - a baby pacifying device (neon-green to be exact) was in her mouth and, to be honest, I was confused. But I welcomed them and we all talked with each other.