Greetings Redeemer friends and family!

I hope that you managed to celebrate Christmas and the New Year in good spirits despite the circumstances.  I hope and pray for a coming year of increasing maturity, faith and love in all your lives.  This is a time of year that many of us look back at the previous year and look forward to the coming one and I want to spend a few paragraphs doing just that for Redeemer in Delft.

As I reflect on 2021, I recognize that it has been a difficult year for many of us and I appreciate that you may not want to look back and reflect!  I believe it is important to do so, it helps us place things in their proper perspective that may not always be accessible to us in the moment.  There have been difficult and frustrating moments in 2021, but in spite of this I remain thankful to God for what He has been doing among us as a community.  In all things, the good and bad, I believe more firmly than ever that God is

“working all things for the good of those that love Him” (Romans 8:28)

and my hope and prayer is that we all can grow in embracing this truth and the strength it brings.  

I want to reflect in a particular way. Every week as a Staff Team, we sit down and share with each other what is encouraging us, what is challenging us and then we give thanks and pray.  This weekly exercise allows us to not be overly discouraged by the challenges we face because we see that God continues to work around us.  The encouragements and breakthroughs we see fuel our faith and prayers for what remains unresolved.

So then, what has encouraged us in 2021?

Well, we have added people to our community as members, we increased the number of Life Groups, we married five couples, we ran two Alpha Courses, one Foundations Course and one Marriage Preparation Course.  We prepared and baptized nine people into God’s kingdom.  We managed to celebrate Easter, Pentecost and Christmas in special ways as the restrictions at the time allowed.  

We successfully did live-streams every week, then we ran hybrid meetings, smaller meetings, larger meetings, opened things up and then closed them down again.  We also recruited ten new leaders for the New Ground Academy and had the privilege of hosting it in Delft for the first time in October.  We saw Jesus heal, bring change, release hope and give freedom to people through our meetings, courses and pastoral work both large and small.

We saw people from our church step up to lead, to preach, to serve and to teach for the first time and develop their gifts on Sundays and other contexts.  In addition to this we were blessed by some guest speakers this past year, we had Dave Holden speak to us in July, Chris Taylor and Henk Kersten visited us several times during the past year.  

We can also be very thankful to God for our finances this year.  Our monthly income from giving was strong and we had a generous Gift Day in May.  This has allowed us to add a new member of staff and end the year with a healthy surplus to be able to invest in growth in 2022.  Moreover, on top of this we were able to give almost €40.000 to external parties from what we received throughout the year to help others continue and build their work.  

What a year!  And I am sure I am missing a lot of what God has done.

What is challenging us looking ahead in 2022?

Looking forward to 2022, there are big challenges ahead (there always should be in a life of faith), but as I said before our encouragements from 2021 should build up our faith for what God can and wants to do this year.  

Let me take you through some of them so that you can join with us in praying for God to help us overcome these things because as the prophet Zechariah said, it is:

‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty. (Zechariah 4:6)

Challenge 1: Remaining faithful, hopeful and loving in this time.

First of all, we are still in a pandemic with all the consequences this brings.  It continues to apply its pressure to all our lives and our community in different ways.  We are still in a process of change, a grey zone, a transition, a no man’s land between the pre-pandemic world and the post-pandemic world and transition is hard for everyone.  No one really knows what the post-pandemic world is going to look like and we will not even be sure when we have arrived there either.  We cannot go back, however much we may want to, but we are not sure what forward looks like either.  It requires faith and courage to keep walking the path ahead with God and not lose hope or let our love for others grow cold.  The apostle Paul says:

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. (1 Corinthians 13:13) 

We can get so fixated on other things, but here he reminds us that these three are what really matters in life and following Jesus.

Challenge 2: Finding and building from God’s blueprint for our church post-pandemic.

As much as it may feel like it, God has not left us alone.  He speaks into this transition process.  I began last year with casting the vision for what we believed God was doing with us as we went through 2021 into 2022 in a series called Upgrade.  I outline how I believed God was calling us to change some deep attitudes in our hearts.  I said that He wanted us to be less reliant on human performance and planning and instead more reliant on His Presence.  He wanted us to give up our pursuit of autonomy and independence and instead rest under His authority and grace.  He also desired that we would give up being consumers of spiritual services and become co-creators and builders of His kingdom on earth.  Hearing a message is one thing, doing it is another.  We want to be faithful to what we have heard and to do it.  We believe that God is the architect of the church and we believe He is going to reveal as we go through this year the blueprint of the new thing He is building.  This will affect how we move forward as a community in Delft; whether we look for a bigger space to meet, or multiple spaces; whether we prioritize Sundays or throughout the week; whether we stop things or start new ones.  We will require flexibility, adaptability and courage to move out of our comfort zones into these things.

Challenge 3: Restarting things…again!

We will need to restart our physical meetings again after the lockdown – however long it lasts.  This is not a straightforward or easy process.  For those of us that remember high school physics. F = ma, or in words: force equals mass times acceleration.  There is only a small force required to keep something moving against friction, whilst getting the same thing moving from stopped requires a lot more effort!  It is the same with church activities.

Challenge 4: Partnering in planting a new church in Rotterdam

This month a group of people from our church and elsewhere will start gathering together in Rotterdam to begin to prepare the ground for planting a church there in the course of this year.  We have been praying for this moment for many years and it is very exciting to see that God has brought our dreams and prayers to life.  Praise God!  As exciting as this is for the group being sent and for the kingdom of God in Rotterdam.  This is a sacrifice for us.  It is going to be something that we feel deeply as a church community and some of us will need to step up into the gaps created.  We are going to lose some wonderful people who have sacrificed, served and helped build what we have now in Delft.  Nevertheless, we believe in building the kingdom of God and not any local church and therefore, sending people is part of our core mission.  We believe that this will create space for people to step up in service, in giving and in leadership.  Could this be you?

That is all for now.  Thanks for making it this far!

Much grace, love and peace,


on behalf of the Leadership Team

Dear Redeemer family and friends,

As I said before the summer, I was expecting to be able to write to you in the autumn with some good news.  I have some!  On the 14 of September the Dutch Government announced its plans for the relaxation of some of the measures in place to contain the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.  These new relaxations have direct and positive consequences for how we will gather and meet for the coming months both in-person and online.

These changes will come into effect from 25 September and therefore, on Sunday 26 September we will have our first Sunday meeting with the new rules.  The main change is the relaxation of the 1.5 m distancing rule.

This means we should have the seating capacity for everyone who wants to come to church physically (we don’t expect this to be everyone right away) and therefore, you can sign-up every week if you desire to come.

We will continue to evaluate the situation as we go forward into the winter.  The changes are listed in short below:


From September 26, we will be able hold our public meetings on a Sunday without social distancing and without asking for any evidence of vaccination, testing or recovery being required.  We will still be registering people in case of any positive cases.


There will remain sections in the church for any people who want to socially distance themselves.


This added freedom comes with some extra personal responsibilities to protect vulnerable others in our community.


The live-stream will be only available publicly on YouTube and website during service times (11.00 – 12.30 on Sunday).  Recordings will be available later to people with a MyChurchSuite account.


These steps means we require many extra helping hands, extra volunteers, to fully serve the community from young to old. Until we have rebuilt our teams to sustainable levels, some aspects of our meetings from pre-Covid times will remain unavailable as a result.


The longer version for those of you with more time and a preference for extended explanations can be found below.

We will no longer have social distancing everywhere in our church meetings from 26 September.

The mandatory 1.5m distance between people comes to an end on the 25 September and allows us to increase our in-person capacity on a Sunday from the current 75 people.  As a church, we are exempt from asking people to provide evidence that they are vaccinated against, tested for or recovered from Covid-19 for entry into our church.  We believe on balance this is the right choice, we recognize, however, that without this check, we will have greater responsibility towards the health and wellbeing of our members, teams and guests and not less.  We trust ultimately in God and have seen so far His hand of protection over our meetings having experienced no outbreaks despite people coming to church in the pre-symptomatic phase of Covid-19.  We will remain careful and vigilant during this next phase.

We will keep some socially distanced seated sections.

We recognize that for many these changes are good news, yet we also recognize that for others there will still be some reservations about returning to physical meetings. We believe that meeting in-person is the biblical vision for church and that everything we do (including online) should be pulling people towards Jesus-centred day-to-day community life.  To help those who may still be concerned, feel a greater responsibility towards others or need to keep themselves safe; we will for the coming months continue to provide sections of the seating that remains socially distanced at 1.5m.  We will never make an assumption or judgement about why anyone is sitting in this section, please get in touch if you have any questions about this provision.

We will have added responsibilities towards one another.

We believe as followers of Jesus we have a duty and spiritual call to love one another (John 13:34). Jesus showed us that true love is not something we can define ourselves, but it is defined in the giving of ourselves for the sake of others (John 15:13). Putting their rights above our rights, being kind and warm-hearted whether the stakes are high or not.

How does this apply in our case?  What does love look like?  To get a little esoteric for a minute, we see back in the Mosaic law given to the Israelities that those who got an infectious disease were by law removed from the wider community to prevent others being infected (Leviticus 13:46). This law as many others in the Old Testament was designed to enforce what love naturally looks like for people who do not naturally love, i.e. they should have naturally take measures to prevent passing on of infectious diseases to others but they did not and therefore, they needed the hand of the law to help them in this. It is for the same reasons why we now have government restrictions and do not rely solely on the natural responsibility of people.

The removal of social distancing in church does create bigger risks for a minority and so increases our responsibility to love them. This coming season will require further responsibility and forethought from everyone, but we believe that the benefits of physical gatherings vastly outweigh the new responsibilities.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Please be careful if you have no immunity to Covid-19 – if for whatever reason you will not or cannot be vaccinated* and have not already had a SARS-CoV-2 infection, we advise you to be extra careful in this season for your own health and those around you.  We have seen from our own experience as a community that Covid-19 can be a nasty disease for some and even those who experience a mild version of it can be left with long-lasting health issues.
  • Please think about taking extra precautions to protect others – for those of us who have an active social life and are regularly through work or pleasure are in situations where the chance of picking up an infection is somewhat greater (i.e. your idea of fun is a nightclub rather than a cross-country run), we would ask that you take measures in your own life to ensure that you do not bring this to church.  For example, this could mean taking a self-test before coming on a Sunday, wearing a mask, or sitting in the social-distanced section.
  • Please respect others’ personal space – When we are not seated, assume that people still want you to keep your distance from them (it is not your breath). It is not necessarily going to be easy, fast or comfortable to go back to “normal” personal boundaries.  Please respect one another in this one and please have the permission to speak your mind.  If you want people to keep away, say it, if you want them to come closer, say it.

(* We believe, on balance, getting vaccinated is the best choice for most people, but we recognize that it is a personal choice, which we must have faith for by being convinced in our own minds one way or another.)

If we do these things I believe we will be able to continue our reopening safely and in a God-honouring way loving one another.

Live-Stream Changes

We believe that the biblical picture of church is one where people are participants in church, not just spectators; contributors, not consumers.  We recognize that this season of online church has not helped promote this vision and in many cases our spiritual muscles of service have atrophied and decayed.  With the reopening of physical meetings our focus will be shifting more and more towards the in-person gathering.

Our live-stream will continue, but we want to increasingly make it a tool that invites and pulls people towards joining our day-to-day community in Delft and its surrounding areas and not a standalone thing floating in cyberspace.  We are a local church and we believe that the local church is God’s Plan A for the world.  In ‘local’ there is a primacy of geography and physical space that remains central to God’s design even in our age of globalism and online connectivity.  We believe that the pandemic has reoriented many people to the importance of the local and we want to reaffirm its importance in our life together.

From 26 September, the live-stream will be only available as a live-stream via the website or YouTube from 11.00.  It will no longer be possible to watch it at a later point in time without being part of the community and having a MyChurchSuite account, where it can be accessed via the MyPodcasts section.  If you do not yet have a MyChurchSuite account, make sure that you have filled in a Connect Form in-person at the Welcome Zone or on the website.  If you have any access issues please contact our Operations Assistant, Priscilla (

Getting Up To Speed

Fully reopening our meetings is a big deal.  We are very thankful to God for this privilege. We have lots of faith that this season is going to be one where God moves among us in a new way. We are, however, weakened in certain areas after the pandemic. We still need to fill many volunteer positions before we can serve our community as we did before.  For example, we need more volunteers to serve our children and teach them about Jesus in a fun and interactive way. We need more people to help serve coffee and tea to give everyone a warm welcome among other things.

We also believe that we should treat our volunteers well and we do not want people to have to serve in an unsustainable way, especially, since all of us are still carrying some exhaustion from extra pandemic stress. This means we want people to serve once a month (roughly every four weeks). Since it took around 35 volunteers to make Sunday meetings happen before the pandemic, some simple maths tells us that we need 140 people volunteering per month.  We are getting there, but are not there yet.  Could you make the difference?  If you want to see how you could make a contribution on a Sunday, please contact our Operations Assistant, Priscilla (

Well done for reading this far.  That is all from me for now, may God bless you in this season!

On behalf of the elders,


Dear Redeemer friends,

You may have been expecting this message from us, if you happen to have been following the news this afternoon.  The Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced that all gatherings of over 100 people would not be permitted under rules designed to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus Covid-19.

The headline is, as of this Sunday 15 March to at the earliest 5 April there will no Sunday meeting at OPEN due to the new government regulations.

However, we still believe that meeting together is an important part of being a follower of Jesus and for those of us who are healthy and able we would like to find a way to meet together in a safe and organized manner.

For this purpose, our Life Groups will be meeting on a Sunday morning at the same time as our normal services, i.e. 11.00 until 12.30.  There will be time to worship together, to hear the sermon live-streamed from one of the locations and to pray for and spend time with each other. You will hear more specifics from your Life Group leaders about this (if, where and what).

This was a situation that we had anticipated since the coronavirus (Covid-19) first appeared in the Netherlands. It has not taken God by surprise and we have had time to think and pray about our response before now.  I feel very positive and have an excitement in God that this will be a great time of personal growth for us and of building a stronger community.  You never know, we may end up liking this better! Overall, it is really important for us to say with Paul:

We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28, NIV)

God will work this situation for the good of his church because that is who He is.

Should I come or not?

People should not come to these meetings if they have been in an at risk area (China, South Korea, Japan, Iran and Italy) in the last two weeks or have come into contact with an infected individual following the instructions of the RIVM (Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu / National Institute for Public Health and the Environment).

Furthermore, people displaying any cold or flu-like symptoms (runny nose, coughing, fever, breathing problems, etc.) should not come to the Life Group Meetings but stay at home.

It is important not to worry!  In the majority of cases, at this point in time, it is much more likely that people will have another respiratory infection.  For the sake of honouring the Dutch government and protecting the most vulnerable in our community we ask you to do this.  Be kind to each other, coughing once does not imply someone is a carrier of the contagion!

I am not in a Life Group / I am sick / I am worried about getting sick

If you are not yet in a Life Group, you are sick or too worried about getting sick then you can follow one of the meetings and hear the worship and sermon for this Sunday by going to our Facebook page.  We will be able to begin to connect people with a Life Group from next week.  Please let us know by sign-up here.

Health Protocol for Life Group Meetings

At these smaller meetings continue to follow the guidance of the RIVM to prevent the further spread and reduce the chance of catching the virus are:

  • Regularly washing hands (or disinfect with hand gel).
  • Sneezing or coughing into elbows / sleeves.
  • Using disposable paper tissues.
  • Avoiding shaking hands

Additionally, we would advise that people also:

  • Avoid physical contact with each other (handshakes, hugs, laying on hands).
  • Have people with gloves or tongs distribute the bread for communion.

The Changing Situation

The national and regional situation could change further and you can stay up-to-date at  This information is available in Dutch and English.

We will be updating our Facebook page with the latest information about what will be happening.  Please check back here for updates.


Dean Wilding
on behalf of the elders

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“See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.” (Song of Songs‬ ‭2:11-12‬, ‭NIV‬‬)

I hope you are enjoying that it is starting to feel like Spring here in Delft. I heard some doves (read: pigeons) a couple of days ago cooing and I was reminded of the verse above, and thought: I am not sure that this is actually a nice noise. Anyway, I should get on with the information I wanted to share with you.

We have mentioned recently in our Sunday meetings we are going to be changing the time of our meetings to 11.00. Apart from the obvious advantages of this for those of us without small children (i.e. not me!), I think there are some genuine reasons to be optimistic about these changes.

The first is that OPEN is going to be closed from the 3 March on Sundays (apart from the last Sunday of the month). Up to now, we had been constrained by the opening time of the building and if you remember, we moved our time to 10.00 for this reason – in a sense we are going “back to normal”. There will be no rush at the end of the service to pack-down and get ready for the building to open.

Secondly, we have had reasonably consistent complaints about the noise from our meetings since our move to OPEN in the summer. It was never our desire to be a nuisance to our neighbours and OPEN have been working to find a solution to this problem with us. By moving the meeting later, the noise early in the morning is minimized and hopefully there will be less problems caused to the neighbourhood.

All in all, I think as we move into Spring, we move into a new season with this building. One that I hope can be a little bit freer and easier for us. As we said from the beginning it is our temporary home, but we will do our best to treat it well during our time here.

Last Sunday, I was glad to be back in Redeemer after a couple of week away.  The meeting for me was most of all a real reminder of the joy that our church brings me.  It was not going to the building that filled me with joy, it was not the worship time or the message we heard – it was above everything seeing people again. It reminded me of how the Bible talks about the Church as being God’s inheritance or reward.  I think sometimes, when we think about reward or inheritance, we think of money, or wealth or riches – God thinks about people, He thinks about His Church – I am beginning I hope to get His point!

I wanted to write briefly about what is coming up.  For the next couple of months we are going to be journeying through the book of Ephesians, to call it a book is perhaps an overstatement. It is a letter written to the churches in and around Ephesus in Asia Minor, that’s now called Turkey to you and me. These are the Ephesians and it is Paul, the self-styled ‘apostle to the Gentiles’ (non-Jews) who is writing to them. It is a sweeping and concise declaration of the message that had been entrusted to him by Jesus: the Gospel – the amazing good news about Jesus Christ.

What is this message? This declaration. God is creating in Jesus Christ through his Spirit a new people, a new society, a community set apart in the midst of the rest of the world. In this community, the barriers of division, the “us and them”, that humans build up between each other; those of class, race, sex, wealth and power would be broken down. Instead of divison, God brings unity in diversity. He builds up new relationships, radically transformed by love, through the sacrificial death of Jesus. They have all received grace, the forgiveness of their sins and now they have peace with God, themselves and each other.  They have been made free to live their lives for God and each other.

Contrary to the influence of individualism and the Western Church’s accommodation to it. The Gospel is not a message of personal liberation in a vacuum, it is centered in the creation of a distinct and holy people, into which those that believe in Jesus become integrated, loved and known by God and each other. It is the Church, as a whole, as a body, that makes known who God is, who in His own Being is a community.  Three Persons in One Being existing in perfect love and unity. On our own, it is simply impossible to have the fullness of what God intended the Christian experience to be.  He made us to be part of His new society, he made us to be part of His Church and part of a local church.

As the secular society around us continues to degenerate into ever increasing fragments in the search for its identity, in its fighting for rights and its denunciation of those that are different. We have the solid hope of a society where people’s identity is solid and sure, a people who can be confident yet humble, a people who love each other despite all the differences of culture, age, race, political opinions, etc. This is God’s design of the Church, are you in?

This is the second half.  You can find the first half here.

Who are “The Poor”?

Jesus said: you will always have the poor among you (John 12:8). It is a simple fact that the poor will never disappear, they will always be among us until Jesus comes back. No matter how good we are as a society or church, however much we provide systems and social security nets, people will fall through them.

At Redeemer, we want to be open to the poor. We want the poor to be welcome among us. The Bible shows us consistently that both the economically poor and the spiritually poor have a special place on God’s heart: Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. (Luke 6:20).

Who then are the poor? In the Bible, these are often identified as being widows, orphans, the sick and foreigners (sojourners). We see these are used paradigmatically, you can be poor even if you do not fit neatly into these categories.

Concisely, the poor are those that are disenfranchised in our world (they experience less rights and opportunities than the rest of us even if on paper they are the same). They are the ones that find it hard to succeed in our societal context – they don’t fit into our boxes and God says they need help.

What is about these people that marks them out as needing of help? They cannot provide for their own needs: food, clothing and shelter. For example:

  • – they cannot work to provide for themselves
  • – they have no one to provide for them (spouse, children, parents)
  • – they have no legal right to work
  • – they have no legal right to benefits (bijstand)
  • – they are enslaved
  • – they are mentally ill
  • – they are addicted to alcohol, gambling or drugs

Implicit in some of these and a central theme of poverty is the lack of relational capital. They do not know the right people. Since one of primary ways in which people get on in any culture is through who they know, not what they know or what they can do. The poor do not know anyone to give them a help economically upwards, often the only people they know are in the same situation. The poor have a real need of healthy relationships with people who are for them and not against them.

As Christians, we would also say that the primary need of all people is to have their relationship with God restored. This helps enable better and healthier relationships between people. Poverty is at its core a problem of sin, where some people are trapped in poverty by their own behaviour, and others by the behaviours of others. There are no simple answers, it is messy and not straightforward, but the God who got his hands messy calls us to do the same.  Believing that in the gospel, we have the solution to sin: Jesus.

The message of the gospel is that we are all spiritually poor, without Jesus we would be all facing God’s judgement, therefore, those that are rich have no moral superiority over the poor. There are no grounds for thinking that anyone is better than anyone else – our nature is fundamentally the same. The gospel also shows a God who became poor so that we could become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9). As the message of God’s self-giving impacts our hearts our attitude is changed to reflect that of God: we voluntarily make ourselves poorer so others can become richer.

What about the State?

Something that makes the discussion about poverty and helping people more nuanced in our context is the Social Security system in the Netherlands. It is one of best in the world, and therefore, when you meet someone who has fallen through this system, it may make you question the individual.  Why has this person not gotten help?  Why did they not qualify?  Are they not really poor? May be questions that go through your head.

For those that are maybe new to the idea, the Dutch government takes large amounts of money in taxes from working individuals and businesses to support those that can not provide for themselves. This form of civic society is founded on biblical ideals and does a great deal of practical good for those in poverty. Everything from healthcare, education, sustenance and housing can be provided by the state.  Those that pay taxes here, pay thousands of euros towards helping people in need every year. It could be argued that as a taxpayer you are giving your financial contribution to the poor already.

If the state does everything now, what then is the role of the church in our current time to the poor? Do we still have a mission towards the poor if we no longer can support them as well as the state can? What is the role of the individual Christian in all this? Well, there is no getting out of our responsibility towards the poor. In 1 Timothy 5:16 Paul writing to Timothy makes it clear that if possible it would fall to individual believers to care for the poor around them. Even the local church should not be burdened with people who could be supported another way, i.e. for us through family, the state, or individual believers.  The local church should be there as the last resort, the place where those who cannot be helped anywhere else can find help.

Individual Christians should still be open to helping people, especially, those that cannot use the social security system because there is likely to be a deep and difficult issue at the heart of this. The self-giving love of God is at the centre of being a Christian. What practical ways can we do this then?

  • – Christians should pay their taxes, therefore, contributing to the social care provided by the state (without grumbling, if possible!).
  • – Christian can contribute to organisations set up with the specific care of groups in need. Many churches or even church denominations do not have the resources or skills to provide this kind of care.
  • – Christians can equip themselves with knowledge about what help is available in their local area (Stichting Perspektief, Stichting Present, Voedselbank Delft, Leger des Heils)
  • – Christians should be open to building relationship with those in need.
  • – Christians should be wise in how they seek to serve the poor. Not everyone has the same capacity and skills.



I wanted to return to something that is thankfully very rare here in Delft, it is begging. Firstly, it is worth pointing out that poverty and begging are not the same thing. You do not have to be poor to beg and you do not need to be a beggar to be poor. Correlation does not imply causation in this case.

The goal of begging is to get money from people. As I shared before, it is often done to maximise the emotional weight of what is being said with a looseness to the truth. It is not that they are all cold-hearted liars or fraudsters (although some are), they are desperate and it takes a degree of character to act with integrity when you are desperate.

We would say, and many other groups and organisations agree, that in our context, here in the Netherlands, the giving of money to an individual begging is highly unlikely to be loving towards them. Money is merely a mediator, it is good for the exchange of goods and services, it is not in the end a need of a human being. A human being needs loving relationships, food, clothes and in some cases shelter.

It is better to provide for these needs directly than giving money which may not be used in the most helpful ways. It is hard to say there would never be a situation where giving money is appropriate, but in the vast majority of cases it would not be helpful or loving to do so. If the person will only accept money and no other forms of help, I would suggest you simply calmly and politely walk away.

Remember to keep your personal boundaries, you are in control of yourself and your property. You have the right to use them as you choose, not how any other person decides. Ignore any feelings of guilt that rise up. If you sense that you are being manipulated or lied to then remove yourself from the conversation or bring it up (depending on the context and how safe you feel).

With all that said, one of the best things you can do, if you want to, is to build a relationship with the person. Giving and sharing out of an existing relationship is much likely to bear longer term fruit.

Something Practical

If you would like to do something specifically for homeless people, you can put together a package that is going to be helpful for them. Get a waterproof bag and place some of the following items in it.

Any individually wrapped snack or drink:

  • – Breakfast bars, cereal bars, granola bars, protein bars (graanrepen)
  • – Single-packaged nuts and trail mix (notenmix)
  • – Rookworst
  • – Hard fruit
  • – Coffee
  • – Bottled water

Grooming and hygiene products:

  • – Combs (kammen)
  • – Hand lotion, Lip balm (lippenbalsem)
  • – Sanitary wipes (doekjes)
  • – Soap (zeep)
  • – Hand sanitizer (handdesinfecterend middel)
  • – Toothbrush and toothpaste (tandenborstel en tandpasta)

Other useful items:

  • – Plastic cutlery (plastiek bestek)
  • – Sunscreen (zonnecreme)
  • – Resealable bags (hersluitbare tassen)
  • – Mints (muntjes)


Further Reading

For those that are interested in finding out more about this topic, we can recommend to you the following books written by those within our family of churches. These are based on a slightly different context to the Netherlands, but many of the underlying principles still apply.

A Church for the Poor, Martin Charlesworth & Natalie Williams
The Myth of the Undeserving Poor, Martin Charlesworth & Natalie Williams

We live in a rich country, in a rich part of the world and being faced with poverty or people begging in the midst of the wealth of Western Europe, and especially in the Netherlands, can be quite confronting to us – as it is fortunately quite alien. There are often feelings of confusion over how to act, guilt over the little we can do, and more than a small sense of helplessness. What is our responsibility before God? What could we, should we do to help?

Our responsibility as a Christian, as a person who follows Jesus, is to act as he did in love. To love your neighbor as yourself out of compassion (Mark 12:31). A set of rules, is therefore, very hard to define. Since what is loving to one person is not loving to another and it requires wisdom, discernment, and more than a few mistakes to recognise the difference (Romans 12:2).

I distinctly remember this time when I was a new believer, eager to help, I spent some time listen to a man who was begging, he said he had no money and needed to get a train ticket to visit his son. We were quite far from the train station and I just went with him to an ATM and withdrew £40 (€45) and gave it to him.

I was a student at the time, this was a lot of money for me, and it turned out that this man was a fraudster. It was his way of making money, I came across him some time later in the city and I was furious. I had been lied to and most of my money for the week was gone, but I decided to forgive him and move on with my life. The moral to the story is, you can act out of the best intentions, and still not get it right.

It may be surprising that Jesus did not help everyone that he came across during his ministry (e.g. John 5:1-14), but he was always loving towards them ready to listen. The key is that Jesus had perfect discernment (John 2:25) and people often went away unhappy when he did not give them what they wanted, but what they needed (John 6:26-27).

Right from the outset, it is good to have some realistic expectations. You are not the Messiah, or even a mini-Messiah. You cannot help everyone who asks of you. Moreover, you should not help everyone who asks of you and sometimes your help is going to be of the “wrong kind”.  Following Jesus, is often not the most popular option. In James 1:2-8 it says we should pray for wisdom, trust in faith that God gives it and follow our discernment of the situation we find ourselves in.

We should keep the perspective of faith, even if we cannot help, God is the true provider and He is able to do more in the situation than we can think or hope for if we ask Him (Ephesians 3:20).  Ultimately, we need to walk with the Holy Spirit as our guide (John 16:13).  We trust that He knows where and when we should be giving and helping and will place this on our hearts.  Resisting the urge to act out of a sense of guilt is difficult, but as I have found in my own life that giving and helping out of compassion often results in digging deeper and with longer lasting effects.  Why? Because guilt is all about you and making you feel better, whereas compassion is all about them.  It builds relationship, trust and crucially restores dignity to people.

The next part of this blog, will go deeper into the topic.  You can find it here.