15 years ago, a couple bought a large piece of property in the village of Bergen in the Netherlands. They wanted to provide hospitality and a listening ear to missionaries returning from the foreign field. Their goal was to allow them to rest so that they could prepare and return to the mission God had set before them. They called it “De Oase” or The Oasis.

My wife (Rebecca) and I got to know these owners in the process of potentially purchasing the property that they had then put up for sale. Very quickly these two became friends of ours and we fell in love with their vision. We were going to be planting a church in their village but how awesome would it be if we could integrate their work into a local mission?

As time went on, that couple and their property became connecting points of a sort. Through the couple we met everyone else we know in Bergen. We hosted several important gatherings on that property, gatherings in which we spent time in prayer and worship and shared vision. Eventually the purchase of the property itself fell through but the vision and mission of the ministry itself had come so close to our hearts that we felt led to take it over, even though there was no building anymore from which to operate that ministry. In our minds though, it was a long term vision for something that would be added to the local work of the new church plant. Then one day, everything clicked into place.

A new church plant with a 15 year history of mission. It’s something that only God Himself could have designed.

We had been searching for a name that communicated the idea to those planting with us, “we are all missionaries in the village of Bergen – this is our mission”. We had gone through all types of names and ideas but none of them clicked. Then one day it dawned on us: we already have a name that, for those planting with us, was connected to a 15-year long vision of caring for and sending out missionaries. We also wanted the name to be something that didn’t sound necessarily “churchy” but inviting, especially in a context where the common perception of church is religious and old fashioned. With a name like “Oasis” we would be able to echo Jesus’ invitation to “come all those who are weary and find rest.”

We gathered the group together for the last time in that property. Together we sat around the table that had caught so many tears of missionaries over the past 15 years and we shared all this with them, asking them how they felt about this name. Everyone was excited! It became clear that this was the identity for which we had all been searching. A new church plant with a 15 year history of mission. It’s something that only God Himself could have designed.

Also published on Medium.