Henk Poot: Leading a Spiritual Trasnformation
Some of the greatest leaders feel motivated to change the world at a very young age. Reverend Henk Poot stands out as someone whose commitment to the Bible from early childhood paved the path for him to assume a leadership role in revitalizing the Biblical Heartland.
Born in 1955 in Western Holland, Henk lived a God-centered life, attending church consistently and studying the Bible since childhood with a strong appreciation for its many inspirational stories. Understandably, Henk was able to perceive events of profound significance, and relating to Israel, through a Biblical lens.
Henk was just eleven years old when Israel miraculously liberated the Biblical Heartland in 1967 and felt as if the Bible’s stories were playing out in real-time. “For me, it was an amazing re-enactment of all those stories in the Old Testament,” Henk reflected. As the Bible was his central guide for life, Henk launched his adulthood with a six-year master’s program in theology. Taking God’s word seriously, Henk was determined to study Hebrew, the Bible’s original language, and with his understanding of Scriptures, Henk never separated Judea and Samaria from the Promised Land. On his very first visit to Israel in 1979, while still a master’s student, Henk made certain to visit the ancient Biblical city of Shechem. “As a Christian coming for the first time, I felt that I came home,” reminisced Henk.
Thereafter, Henk took his love of the Bible and the Land of Israel and shared it as a youth pastor with many others, moving from village to village. Eventually, Henk became a chaplain for the Dutch Navy where he organized tours to Israel for Navy personnel.
Henk seized the opportunity to make an impact in the Biblical Heartland when his friend Jeannet Van Duuren introduced him to CFOIC Heartland director, Sondra Oster Baras. The Second Intifada was brewing at the time, and with Sondra’s help and guidance, Henk brought Christians on solidarity trips to communities all over Judea and Samaria. Henk remembers that he succeeded in forging a sense of trust from residents in the Biblical Heartland. Yet, Henk was also fully cognizant from the start that many
in the region viewed Christian support for Israel with strong suspicion. Thus, during one of his visits to the community of Kochav Yaakov, Henk was emotionally moved when he saw a mother explain to her children, “these Christians do not hate us. They are our friends.”
Seeking to further contribute to the Biblical Heartland, Henk became CFOIC’s representative to Holland and a board member of Christians for Israel Holland (C4I Holland). Subsequently, Henk introduced C4I Holland to CFOIC Heartland. After becoming familiar with his independent initiative and authorship of a book delving into Jewish concepts, C4I Holland appointed Rev. Poot its head pastor. For many years now, C4I has worked in tandem with CFOIC Heartland. “Working with Sondra and CFOIC Heartland has been an absolute blessing because it is so important to us that our donations to the communities in the Biblical Heartland are always taken care of. Sondra and CFOIC Heartland could not be more reliable in making sure that happens,” said Poot.
But Henk has a more global mission geared towards transforming the entire Christian world’s perspective on the Biblical Heartland and People of Israel. “Christians have a duty to be good witnesses to others around them,” explained Rev. Poot. “Our goal is to witness to the Church about the truth of the Land and People of Israel.” Henk has done more than his share of witnessing by publishing a book that explains the Biblical and historic significance of countless Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, an initiative supported by CFOIC Heartland. Henk also led other pastors to create strong bonds with CFOIC. Although Henk has retired, he devotes three days a week consulting to C4I Holland, which ensures that his mission will be carried on to the next generation.