“Let’s not reinvent the wheel, lets put the wheels on the car and let it roll!” Jack Dangermond
Hospitable churches partner with “bridge groups” that already have their hands and feet in the community working with the people that the church welcomes.
For some churches, this group was birthed from the congregation in order to meet their community’s needs and other churches partner with outside groups from the community. The bridge group provides the context, deals with details, and the church plays a supportive role.
(Click the green tabs below to read about bridge group/church partnerships)
(Fresh Wind Fellowship; Abbotsford, BC) Fresh Wind’s bridge group is Bethesda Christian Association, a Christian group providing a variety of services to people with disabilities. Bethesda employs caretakers who bring the group home residents to the service. Bethesda plays a key role as a bridge group as their caretakers tend to the resident’s physical and emotional needs leaving the congregants and church leadership free to meet the residents’ spiritual and social needs. Interestingly, many Bethseda caretakers who bring their clients to Fresh Wind have themselves been impacted by the love and acceptance they felt there and adopted the congregation as their own.
(The Church at Brook Hills; Birmingham, AL) Lifeline Adoption Agency has been an important bridge group in Brook Hill’s movement towards orphan care. Many Lifeline leadership attend Brook Hills and were instrumental in establishing a vision for adoption in the early days of the church. Because of its accessibility, many Brook Hills families have used LifeLine as their adoption agency thus strengthening the connection between the two organizations. In the last six years, as more families are involved with foster care, the church has created a partnership with Alabama Baptist that specializes in foster care placement.
(Northern Lighthouse Mission; Lincoln, NE) Northern Lighthouse works with Community Correctional Center- Lincoln (CCC-L), a work release prison, south of Lincoln, NE. With over fourteen years of partnership, Lighthouse has built up a lot of trust with the prison. CCC-L gives Northern Lighthouse pastors easy access to visiting inmates. CCC-L issues and enforces many rules about inmates’ off-prison behavior: no drugs, no sexual relations, and no wandering off the church property. These rules established by the prison ensure Northern Lighthouse is a safe place without church leadership having to play the role of the enforcers. Instead the church can focus on meeting inmate’s spiritual and pastoral needs.
(Grandview Calvary Baptist; Vancouver, BC) Grandview has had many bridge groups grow out of the congregation. The first group was the Salsbury Community Society which has spawned many other housing and hospitality initiatives. Salsbury was birthed in 1992 from a desire to meet the housing needs of the neighborhood. Though the organization has changed many times over the last twenty three years, Salsbury has provided a safe place for fledgling initiatives to grow into their own non-profit. Kinbrace (refugee housing and support), Just Work (social enterprises that provide meaningful employment to people in the neighborhood), REED (an organization working against sexual exploitation and trafficking), and finally Co:Here (a housing development for homeless and low-income congregants) all grew from Salsbury.
(Peace Lutheran; Tacoma, WA) Peace Lutheran closely partners with Peace Community Center which was started by the congregation in 1996 to provide a positive place for youth in a neighborhood that was besieged with drugs, gangs and violence. Peace Community Center has grown into its own organization with over thirty staff and a million dollar budget. Peace Community Center’s mission is to provide educational mentoring and tutoring to neighborhood youth helping them gain access to educational opportunities and reach their God-given potential. Through the years, church members have been able to tutor and at times have provided mentoring and Biblestudies.