The bridge is an image of the existing church in America. It’s an amazing bridge that was was built to withstand hurricanes of social change and cultural upheaval. And it has!
The bridge hasn’t moved or changed. It stands strong. Yet the river’s route has dramatically altered. It no longer flows under the bridge. Let’s call it the “River of Cultural Difference.” The cultures outside the church are now completely different than the culture inside the church.
The church was built at a time when Christian values and practices were affirmed by most everyone in town. Then the hurricane began. Society changed all around the church: the 1960s and 70s saw massive change on the school, work, and home fronts.
And the church persisted! There are still 100 million people who go to church regularly in America. But for the 200 million people who live on the other side of the river, the existing church doesn’t look so relevant anymore to the flow of their life. It doesn’t resonate with their world view and day to day experience.
Bridges recognizes that the river has moved. The culture outside the church has changed and does not relate to the church culture. Bridges understands that we are asking a lot when we ask people to cross the river to come to church. Bridges advocates for empowering Bridge Leaders to cross the river. These leaders take initiative to join their group, just like Jesus came to earth and joined our group. Bridge Leaders take responsibility to learn the non-church culture language, just like missionaries learn languages. And Bridge Leaders decide to live among the people across the river of cultural difference and love them.
It’s going to take a new group of missionaries to share the good news of God’s love in America. Our own networks and neighborhoods have become our mission fields. Perhaps you feel called to cross the river. Or maybe you are excited to support a Bridge Leader who has decided to do so.
Bridges provides the very best training and support to leaders who cross the river. God’s heart is always for the outsiders, the ones who have not yet discovered God’s amazing love and plan for us. Whether the least, the lost, and the lonely or the most, the found and the over-scheduled, God cares about people—all of them. No matter on what side of the river they live, work and play.