Police visit

All of a sudden the police force was there, right in front of me. There weren’t just one or two of them, but around 60 or more. 

Yesterday we had a visit from the organization called Serve the City. They were doing different projects that day to serve Amsterdam. This time the projects were organized in a special partnership with the police force Amsterdam-Amstelland. While Serve the City is a christian organization, it was mostly non-christian police officers that were doing the projects that day. One of the many things they did was baking pancakes for the homeless people of Amsterdam.  Our training facility De Poort was there home base for the day.

A few weeks ago I was in Spain for a seminar about ‘Urban Ministries.’ With a bunch of YWAMers from different locations we were tackling questions like how to be effective in an urban context. One of the topics that YWAM San Francisco leader Tim Svoboda was teaching us that week was what he called the 3 P’s. If we want to be relevant with how we work with God’s Kingdom in an urban environment will have to familiarize ourselves with our context. There are three groups of people that we should strengthen our relationships with in order to be relevant in an urban context:

  • Politicians
  • Pastors
  • Police
Serve the City and the participating police officers had their closing-off dinner at De Poort. Because they had been walking in and out of this building all day they had become curious of who was actually hosting them. While they were getting ready for their dinner I was asked to share about who we are and what we do.

I shared with them that we are part of a worldwide organization that is dedicated to Know God and to Make Him Known. We are a community with around 75 people that have come to Amsterdam from all over the world to serve this city – just like they had been doing. We do this because we are followers of Jesus, who said of himself that he never came to be served, but to serve. I continued sharing about the seminar I was at recently, where we were talking about the 3 P’s. I started with the P for Politicians and the importance of connecting with politics, and of course for us as christians it is important to be connected to the Pastors in this city. Coming to the third P my audience didn’t have to think for very long when I said: “And the third P, of course, is…”

“Police!” was their excited response!

While a few minutes prior I had been wondering kind of nervously what to share with a group of non-christian police officers about an international mission organization in a city like Amsterdam, now we did indeed seem to have a real connection.

“Well said” was a response from one of the participants. Another person told me she thought her 20 year old daughter should come by and visit us, and she was asking for contact information. With yet another person I agreed to meet up some time soon to talk more in-depth about possibilities of partnering between YWAM Amsterdam and the Amsterdam-Amstelland police force.

Maybe we should just start using relevant terminology. What about ‘alert and serviceable,’or ‘working with a mission‘?

Sounds familiar!



  1. Sidra Z. · January 11, 2012

    What a lovely encounter! Are you planning on continuing in more relations with the officers?

  2. Reinier & Rianne Blijleven · January 12, 2012

    Thanks for your comment! We are planning on doing so indeed. Looking forward what will come out of this

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