Dear Redeemer friends and family,

On Sunday evening, we had our yearly Church Family Evening where we look back and celebrate the past year and look forward to the coming one.  As part of this, we as the Leadership Team of the church announced: how we are doing financially, a vision for the next season and some changes to what we will do from September this year.

I am writing now to let everyone know the headlines.  I have tried to keep the length to a minimum, so there are links throughout the mail for more information for those who are interested.

HEADLINE 1: OUR FINANCIAL STATUS

Last year, we ended with a surplus of around €46.000 (Praise God!) which we have added to the budget in 2022 to invest in growth as a church, therefore, we are currently looking at a substantial five-figure deficit this year.  In order to sustain our current spending and the vision we believe God has given us we need an increase in our monthly income by around 20% throughout 2022.  If this does not improve, we will have to make budget cuts in or before 2023 in the form of staffing reductions.

We hope for better things and we believe that God will provide for us as a church.  Therefore, can I ask you first of all to pray for God to provide what we need to come in.  Secondly, we know practically that most of our income comes from those who are part of our community.  If that is you, I would invite and challenge you to consider what you are giving to the church and see if you can increase it joyfully in faith.  I remind you in this of the wisdom of the Scriptures:

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7).

HEADLINE 2: A NEW SEASON, A FRESH VISION

As the church leaders, we believe that God is calling us to a new season in our life as a church, where we are to focus on: seeking renewal, sharing hope and standing firm. Yes, you knew it, it must be a set of three and start with the same letter, this time it is three S’s!

SEEKING RENEWAL – In Mark 2:21-22, Jesus responded to those challenging him on his followers’ spiritual practices about the need for “new wineskins” to contain “new wine”.  God throughout Church history has worked in patterns of renewal or revival.  We believe that a moment of renewal is coming for the Church and we want to be able to contain this new wine of God’s Spirit when it arrives.  This means, however, we need to adopt new spiritual practices to enjoy and sustain this move of God when it comes.

SHARING HOPE – Jesus followers should live with an infectious hope.  The apostle Paul wrote: for in this hope we were saved (Romans 8:24).  We have a religion, a way of life, a system of thought grounded and submerged in hope.  The secular world around is losing hope in its vision of utopia.  As the gospel of world is failing, the gospel of Jesus will shine brighter and brighter.  We need to recommit ourselves to sharing this hope with our generation.

STANDING FIRM – there is a great pressure right now on followers of Jesus in the West to go with the flow of our times, to give in, to shrink back and to conform to the pattern and thinking of our cultural moment.  The words of Scripture remind us the opposite: Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2).  We need to become a resilient counterculture, confident in what we believe and we must not compromise on our love for and obedience to God’s Word and His Spirit.

To achieve this vision, we will be making some changes to what we do regularly from September.

HEADLINE 3: SPIRITUAL TOOLS

We believe that God is leading us through a paradigm shift (a new way of thinking) in the way we do things as a church community.  This is from running programmes to providing tools” for people to follow Jesus.  The “spiritual tools” we will be providing for you in this next season are:

THIS IS THE WAY –  We believe that the Western church is in a crisis of non-discipleship, people may “believe” in Jesus, but they are not disciples of Jesus as defined by Scripture.  The local church exists to be the place where people discover who Jesus is and respond to him in faith by becoming his apprentice, his follower or disciple.  This Is The Way is a tool to help us become disciples in this cultural moment through leading us into forming a rule of life. [Read More]

COMMUNITY GROUPS – We want everyone who comes to Redeemer, not only to attend meetings on a Sunday, but also to be part of our community, to be in community with one another.  Why? The community of believers is where most spiritual formation happens, where people learn to be with Jesus, become like him and live life as he did together.  Community Groups are a tool to help us be in community with one another in the midst of our busy lives and many other commitments. [Read More]

THE SUNDAY SERVICE – We believe that celebrating Jesus together and sharing the Gospel publicly are great privileges we have as believers in the Netherlands.  We are adjusting what we programme on a Sunday morning to make it even more Gospel and Jesus-focused through hearing more stories of how God is working and by having Communion every week.  The Sunday Service is a tool to help us and the city encounter Jesus.

THE ENGINE ROOM – We still believe that prayer is the engine room of the church, we can achieve nothing for Jesus without believing prayer.  Prayer is essential in achieving our vision, we need to become a praying people.  The Engine Room is a tool for us to seek personal and corporate renewal through prayer, worship and hearing from God. 

THE DEEP DIVE – We know that it is not always possible to go into the depth that certain topics require on a Sunday morning and the Bible encourages believers to: continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of (2 Timothy 3:14).  If we are going to stand firm in our cultural moment, we need to become convinced of what we say we believe.  The Deep Dive is a tool to help us search the Scriptures, contemplate our culture and forge a stronger faith.

That is all from me for now.  Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns, but I am likely to respond after my holiday in the first weeks of July.

Grace and peace,

Dean

On behalf of the Leadership Team

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 https://www.rivm.nl/.  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

“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.