Since November 2017, the Watertower of Rotterdam is the place of Jesus.net’s office. God has blessed us with an extraordinary location. However, the process of finding a new office has been a really interesting journey, that we would love to share with you. You can read ‘the story of the Watertower’ below.
The story is written by Jan-Willem Bosman, Executive Director of Jesus.net
SPREADING LIVING WATER
We believe that the Watertower is a symbolic place. The reason for this is the history of the Watertower. In the 18th century, the population of the Netherlands grew quickly. A lack of clean water led to outbreaks of diseases. Watertowers were known for spreading ‘living water’, as they played an important role in fighting diseases, by providing life-saving clean water. You may know that ‘living water’ in the Bible stands for the Spirit of God and the Good News, that makes people no longer ‘thirsty’ or searching for more*. We feel that this is the right place for Jesus.net to dedicate itself to spreading the Living Water worldwide.
*Do you want to learn more about this Good News and find out what Jesus has to say about it? Then visit www.jesus.net!
It is from this Watertower that we, together with our global network of partners, are working on reaching our dream: “Imagine a world with every single person having free access to the Gospel, knowing God, growing in Jesus and sharing faith easily”.
We are very grateful to God for this great place: the Watertower. As mentioned before, getting here has been a very special process. You can read all about this journey below!
THE SEARCH FOR A NEW OFFICE
Since January 1st, 2017, Jesus.net is an independent organization. In the spring of 2017, the Board and Executive Team (ET) of Jesus.net made plans to expand the team, so that we could better develop our strategy and support our partners worldwide. However, the current office at that time was too small for the increasing number of people. Another aspect that forced Jesus.net to move was that the old office would no longer be available for rent by the end of 2017. We started to dream and search for the best location.
WEIGHING DIFFERENT ASPECTS
We first decided on the city. We wanted a creative place, internationally known and easy to reach by both airport, train and car. We were searching for an inspiring and good location to receive guests, that could be a symbolic place for our vision. We also wanted to have a place where new employees could get housing for an affordable price. After good research, we decided to choose Rotterdam as the main place for the office.
CONSIDERING THE WATERTOWER AND INCREASING NECESSITY
Shortly after sharing this dream with the team, Tim (Projectcoordinator at Jesus.net) sent an email with the subject ‘FOUND OUR NEW OFFICE’. He wrote “You can stop searching. This is it!”, linking to a real estate page that said the Watertower was available for rent. Although Tim had written the email in a semi-jokingly way, the idea of the Watertower as the new office quickly became more serious.
That week, Eric Célérier, president of Jesus.net, visited the Netherlands. As we talked about the location for the Jesus.net office, Eric encouraged us to go for Rotterdam and the Watertower.
Impressed by some pictures we saw online and later when we visited the Watertower with the real estate agent, our enthusiasm for the location grew. However, we were also concerned, because the location had already been empty for a few years. We did some research to find out why this location was not rented or used by another company, since it seemed like the ultimate place for an innovative organization. We did not get a clear answer for this. More and more the thought grew that God had reserved this place for Jesus.net. The ET started to calculate the costs and consider the possibility to rent the Watertower.
In the meantime, we saw the growing need for a new office. The team was growing and now consisted of too many people for the limited space in Amersfoort. We needed to speed up the process for the new office, so we connected with the real estate agent and the municipality, because the Watertower is the property of the city of Rotterdam. The negotiation between real estate agents, the city and us was a very slow process. It took a strong, almost daily reminding effort to get the attention of the municipality. Maybe this was the human reason why the Watertower was not rented before.
Eric and I met again in Paris, in August 2017. Still not sure about the Watertower being the right location, I wanted to get God’s confirmation. Eric and I talked about the special place, the big windows and the 360-degree view. We started to dream about praying for all our partners worldwide and writing down the vision of Jesus.net on the windows for the world to see.
We prayed about it and asked God to give us a sign, like Gideon did. Right after our prayer, Eric received a message from his team member Audrey about a devotional she gave that morning. Just curious we looked up the passage. It was from Habakkuk 2:2 (MSG): “Write this. Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run. The vision-message is a witness pointing to what’s coming. It aches for the coming – it can hardly wait! And it doesn’t lie. If it seems slow in coming, wait. It’s on its way. It will come right on time!” We were excited about this message. It was amazingly fitting the vision we just had a few minutes before.
At the same time, we remembered that the ZeWatchers, an organization with whom we work closely, also has a vision about a tower. Energized we searched for the verse in the Bible and were incredibly surprised we found out that the message was Habakkuk 2:1b. Just the verse before the verse Audrey just sent us. Amazing. Habakkuk 2:1b (MSG) says: “I’ll climb to the lookout tower and scan the horizon. I’ll wait to see what God says, how he’ll answer my complaint.”
Verse 1 and 2 together completely fit our dream and the reality of the Watertower. We felt an amazing joy of the Spirit in our bodies. This was a miracle. Would the Lord have reserved this place for us? It seemed clear. We jumped up from the bench that we were sitting on and gave each other a high five, saying: “Let’s go for it. Praise God!” At that moment, my iPhone switched on and Siri replied: “Yes, go for it!” We were impressed by the way God answered our prayer. And we knew that we had to go for it.
MOVING AND SETTLING IN
It took a few months of negotiations and patience, but on the 16th of November 2017 we received the key to the Watertower. God is good! We moved the very next day. Through February we were busy renovating the new office, building furniture and cleaning the space. We now have an office with a marvelous view, room to grow as a team and a symbolic place from where we can spread the Good News to the whole world. The latter is the mission, that we share with our partners worldwide. On the windows of the tower, we have placed the names of the countries where we have a partner, so that we can specifically pray for them.
In April and May of 2018, Jesus.net held two events in the Watertower to officially open the new office and to show the Watertower to supporting friends, family and other people involved.
We thank everyone who has helped in any way (by praying, financially, practically…) in the process of the Watertower becoming the new Jesus.net office.
We invite you to get involved in the story of Jesus.net as well. Join the movement!
Executive Director Jesus.net