We have a little story to tell you. At the end of it we hope you see two things very clearly. First, that many times brokenness is the beginning of great things in the Kingdom of God. Second, that we are at the beginning of a great move here in Holland.
In 2010, there was a church in the inner city of Lisse. This church had a youth program that opened its doors as a “hang out” spot one night a week. Slowly, this hang out spot and the leaders behind it began to attract a specific group of teenagers that people call “hangjongeren” – a name given to teenagers that have (seemingly) no real motivation in life and that do little more than hang around certain places in town.
After a while, the problems that ensued from inviting this type of youth into a church building began to mount up and the church began discussing closing down the weekly event. But these two youth leaders, along with a few other members of the church and in partnership with Teen Challenge Netherlands, stood up and said, “If you will give us a room, we will create a separate ministry just for these hangjongeren. Because if we don’t reach them, who will?”
That’s when The Gate|Lisse was born.
In September of 2012, out of that same sense of brokenness for the youth in the rural polder of North Holland, a second location was opened – The Gate|Middenmeer. The opening of this location signaled not only a new page in the story of Christ-centered youth work in the Netherlands but also a long awaited answer to prayer for many churches. What was that answer? A new type of youth ministry that combines professional youth work, a network of addiction recovery centers, local church empowerment and evangelistic fervor all in a model that can be highly contextualized.
After our own experience of deep brokenness for this generation of youth in our city, Rebecca and I saw first hand how the Gate does its work and became very excited. In January of 2013, Rebecca and I will be launching the third location (The Gate|Heerhugowaard) with a wonderful team and in partnership with our local church, Sjaloom Pinkstergemeente.
All of this started because two young youth leaders, already successful in their own professions, let brokenness take hold of them and followed that brokenness into the unfolding plan of God. What are the results of that thus far? A real movement that is taking shape in this generation of youth; youth who have previously had no encounter with the gospel now coming alive in the power of Christ.
But there’s more.
In the last 4 months, more and more churches have heard about the Gate and the success it is having in the three (very different) cities where it is currently found. A fourth and fifth location will open soon and there are currently four additional churches looking for more information on how they could open a location in their city. All of this is happening without one bit of promotional piece being printed or posted anywhere. It is really something of God.
So you see, brokenness is really the beginning of most great things in the Kingdom.
A great need + a broken heart + Spirit-led faith to do something about it = an answer for which only God can get the glory.
Check back here soon for a video update on exactly what the Gate is, our involvement with it on a national scale and what is happening with our Gate launch here in Heerhugowaard.