Partners in Ministry Newsletter—February 2022—
Bridging with Our World!
I will tell you that progress and growth are going to happen, and the question isn't ‘if’ it will happen, but ‘when’, and it's happening now. No matter what we want or think about this growth, whether it's good or bad, it's happening. This means that we must be in the process of planning to build bridges in each community that surrounds us. Each one will be different because each community is different, but the foundation—remember—will always be the same: Jesus Christ and Him crucified. As we pray and plan and design and build we must be careful to build bridges that do what a bridge is supposed to do… connect! And connect in a way that allows for movement and access.
In 1933 Franklin D. Roosevelt instituted programs that would help America recover from the Great Depression. Two of the programs were the Civil Works Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corp. These were designed to put the unemployed to work for as little as a $1 a day and keep them from having to stand in soup lines.
Many of the projects were simply designed to put men to work even when there was no real need for a project. A story is told of a small town in Indiana where a bridge was to be built over a river that would connect two communities. The work began and was completed. The problem was that where the bridge had been built there were no roads that lead to it on one side. It was a dead end.
Planning, energy, effort, and money had been put into a project that produced no anticipated results. We don't want to do that. So, what do we do?
George Gallop Jr. wrote, "A church rooted in the living Lord is a church that encourages people to move beyond their comfort zones and invest themselves in face-to-face, person-to-person, hands-on kinds of ministries."
This happens only when the motivation of love for our neighbors exceeds our personal comforts, schedules, and desires. I will guarantee this, bridge building will not happen on a Sunday morning during worship! It must happen during the rest of the week through interaction with the community in which we live.
Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment in the Law was and He replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Matthew 22:34-40
To love our neighbor means to get to know our neighbor, discover what needs our neighbor has, and how we can help them by demonstrating servant-hearted love which can lead to the opportunity to share the gospel.
First, we need understand that bridges are built to fit specific needs. The apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 “Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings."
This means we need to understand the cultural context of our communities and neighborhoods.
There are no "standard" one-size-fits-all bridges. Each one is unique; each one meets a certain need to accomplish a certain task. Bridges built in Mexico meet a specific need, bridges built in Bangkok meet a specific need. Each bridge we build is built on the foundation of Jesus Christ and the gospel of salvation, but how that bridge is built into the communities will be different.
There are different languages, cultures, races, histories, experiences, religions, and lifestyles. Each factor is weighed, and each span prayerfully measured to understand and form a bridge that will connect one side with the other.
As COVID restrictions are diminishing and Spring and warm weather are coming upon us, it’s time to start maximizing the spiritual bridge builders to connect with the lost communities around them.
I will share more on this in the next monthly newsletter. Praying for you all as you serve our Lord Jesus Christ.