While The Bridge is one of the most peaceful churches you will ever encounter, being full of people and led by frail men, we do face minor conflict from time to time. Probably the most common surrounds the purpose of our church and what kind of church we believe we are supposed to be. When you think of it, once that is settled, most other decisions are simplified and we are able to clearly see our way through to the things we do and don’t do, and how we approach every ministry.
And that is an area that has been settled for a long time. In fact, Jesus settled it when he announced the mission of the church in Matthew 28:19-20.
We are a church that is driven by the Gospel and passionate about making disciples and then helping them to grow.
But, not having that understanding, sometimes people get upset because don’t do certain things, or because of the approach we take.
Everything we do is with the Great Commission in mind. As an outreach-oriented Gospel driven church, we try to keep ourselves focused and uncluttered. That’s why try to steer clear of Christian lingo, or allowing a Christian culture to gain a footing. It’s why we carefully think through all of our ministries and are constantly evaluating how effective those ministries are in accomplishing that mission. It’s why we hate legalism, and refuse to embrace Christian dos and don’ts that are extra-Biblical.
That’s why we do not get involved in politics. It’s why we don’t have church pot-lucks. It’s why we wear regular clothes in our services and use a music style that people who have never been to church before can connect with. It’s why we don’t have the typical church greeting time in our services (unchurched people almost always feel awkward during this time). It’s why I try to preach in a way where regular people can understand what I’m saying, and explain texts and references used in sermons so that everyone gets what is being said.
It’s why we encourage you to not only witness to people in your life, but also invite them to church to hear the Gospel in the context of seeing God’s people worship. It’s why we advertise outreach-oriented sermon series, host Awana, Celebrate Recovery and our other ministries. It’s why we encourage parents to use the nursery and other Bridge Kids ministries, because the message we share in the auditorium (and Bridge Kids for that matter) is so absolutely vital that we want everyone to be listening to every sentence, without distraction.
Shouldn’t the church be for Christians?
Often someone asks, “But shouldn’t the church be for Christians?” Of course it is! But the best thing we can do for Christians is to help them to live outside of themselves, gain a passion for reaching the lost, and grow by joining Jesus’ mission for the church. People do not grow by being spoon-fed deep theological truths on Sunday morning or Saturday night. They grow when they are inspired to connect with God and join him in his mission to reach the lost.
We don’t always accomplish it, but that’s the kind of church The Bridge aspires to be.
“I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” – Jesus (Matthew 16:18)