The last Evangelical church in the village had just closed its doors and it seemed that all hopes for a life-giving community of faith in Bergen were shattered. However, a small group of Christians dared to hope against all hope. Not knowing from where the answer would come, they believed that the Creator of heaven and earth heard their prayers. They could not have known that the answer would come in the form of a missionary enterprise some 30 years later.
In 2002, two new residents of Bergen and members of this small group known as “de Bergen Kring” (the Bergen Circle), opened up the doors of De Oase (The Oasis). Their passion was to care for missionaries to foreign countries by providing them with short-term accommodations and hospitality that would put the hearts and minds of missionaries at ease.
In 2012, two missionaries from the United States, Chris and Rebecca Green, moved to the Netherlands with the vision of planting life-giving faith communities in areas that needed them the most. For their first 4 years in the country they invested their energies in learning the language, acclimating to their new lives, and working on short-term projects alongside local churches in North Holland. But in 2016 their hearts became restless and they sensed the time was coming to plant a church.
North Holland being the most unchurched region of the country, their hearts were settled on starting here. Though they considered several cities and villages, Bergen had always had their attention. The uniqueness of the village had always interested them. Yet more than that, Christians in North Holland spoke of Bergen as “a difficult place for the gospel.” As they prayed, one idea captivated Chris and Rebecca’s hearts:
If God moved powerfully in a “difficult” place like Bergen, imagine the inspiration it would be for the region.
Before long, they knew that Bergen was more than an idea. It had become a calling.
Yet they knew no one in the village, let alone if there were even any Christians there who would embrace a church planting calling. Within a week of deciding to pray for Bergen, they came into contact with the founders of De Oase and, through them, the Bergen Kring. Step by step, the Lord unveiled His plan. Chris and Rebecca would take over the work of De Oase, caring for missionaries, but they would do it in a new way and for a new group of missionaries.
As they got to know the people of Bergen, it was clear that no traditional model of event-based church planting would work here. Bergen needed more than a “new church” - it needed a community of missionaries. It needed people who saw the village itself as a mission field. So, together with the Bergen Kring and the friends they had made along the way, that’s what they would build: A community of missionaries in and for Bergen.
Oase Bergen is not a place. It is not even a people. It is a vision rooted in Psalm 84:
“Though they walk through the valley of sadness, they will make it an oasis. The early rain comes and covers it with pools.” (Psalm 84:6)
The people of Oase are committed to bring an oasis of renewal to Bergen, for the good of the people, for the glory of God and in the power that only comes from God Himself.