More than 30 years ago, the last evangelical church in the municipality of Bergen, Netherlands, closed its doors, leaving no evangelical witness for two generations. But a small yet passionate group of Christians believed God for a miracle in their community. And now, through the leadership of missionaries Chris and Rebecca Green, this innovative church known as The Oasis (Oase Bergen) has big plans to reach their city before another generation goes by.
The Greens moved to the Netherlands in 2012 with a vision of planting life-giving faith communities in areas that needed them most. During their first term as missionaries in North Holland, the most unchurched region of the country, they consistently heard Christians speak about Bergen as a difficult place for the gospel. Because Bergen is a completely secular community, they knew it would be a big challenge to plant a church there by relying on nontraditional methods completely foreign to people who had never seen an evangelical church or even met a Christian. This challenge became a call, and in 2017 the Greens and that small, faithful group of Christians, who dared to believe for a miracle, saw God begin to answer their prayer through the founding of The Oasis.
God began moving in a powerful way at The Oasis, with miracles continuing to happen. At the start of the church, a young mom began attending who had experienced a miscarriage the previous year. She again became pregnant, and it appeared she was going to lose this baby as well. The church gathered around her and prayed in faith, thanking God for the day they would stand in that same place to dedicate this baby to the Lord. In June 2018 that’s exactly what they did, praising God for the beautiful, healthy little girl they call “the first miracle of Oasis.”
For The Oasis to reach its goal, long-term commitment must meet short-term action. As a church, The Oasis set a goal they can only accomplish with God’s help. By 2027 they plan to be actively serving and in relationship with 5 percent of Bergen’s population. For this group of about 60 people to have grown to the point of having meaningful contact with more than 1500 people concurrently in the first decade of the church’s existence seems daunting. But as they set this goal, they knew God was challenging them to do something so big that only He himself could do it.
This church desires to keep its eyes on Christ, to stay grounded in His Word, and to walk by His Spirit. And for Chris and Rebecca, their eyes remain focused on the call and challenge that God has laid before them, even when things get tough. “Pioneering is hard,” Chris said, “It requires sharp thinking, quick action, and a lot of faith-fueled patience. But the fruit is more than worth the work it takes to get it.”