Amsterdam is on my mind today. Two years ago I had the opportunity to travel there to visit some friends who planted a church in the city a few years ago. It was an amazing experience. Endless coffee shops and cafes, canals running through the city, a million people riding bicycles, friends hanging out in huge green areas and parks, street performers and artists, markets with fresh meats and produce, world-class museums and art galleries.
But what I will remember most from the trip are the people. Those who left all they had ever known to follow a dream of seeing God’s Kingdom come to the city. Amsterdam is one of the most unchurched, post-Christian cities in the world. Some would say God is dead in the city.
And that is what makes the story of the people who moved there so powerful. They stepped in to a place the church had given up on and forgotten. A place that many believed would never turn back to God. And in his great mercy, God has blessed that group of people. The church has now multiplied to two neighborhood churches. And many lives have been transformed by the message of Jesus.
I don’t always understand why Jesus left the earth and asked his fallen, imperfect followers to continue his work. And I don’t always understand how exactly he works through us today. But through the lives of my friends in Amsterdam, I know he is alive and at work in our fractured world.