As a boy, I learned that my grandpa was a paint foreman for the Burlington Rail Road. He painted depots and bridges and anything that needed to be painted. I then saw the bridge over the Missouri River that he painted, and thought that was quite a job! My mother told me that that bridge was the only way to cross the river, other than the ferry. Since my grandfather was from NW Missouri and my grandmother from SE Nebraska, they needed a way to connect. Before there were phones and internet, people were connected by bridges.
A few years ago, there was talk of a “Bridge to Nowhere” in the presidential campaign. When my sister was visiting, I gave her a tour of our church building, and she questioned “why do you have a dance studio?” I told her about all the wonderful connections coming through the dance and theater ministry. When you look at the activities of the church, do you see connections, or do you see a bridge to nowhere?
Before I received Jesus, I was a student just trying to pass classes and get credits. After meeting the Lord, a curiosity was released in me. I wanted to know about everything. Two motivations drove this: first, seeing the majesty and Creator God in everything, and second, wanting to connect with people who had interest in things I hadn’t considered important (to me). I wanted bridges so that others might be introduced to Jesus.
The elders and staff put great effort in choosing events, activities, and outreaches to the community. We are always looking for bridges to bring people in to the Body of Christ. There are ministries devoted to sport (FCA), Music and Arts (CPA), even Rodeos (Cowboys for Christ)! In fact, there are too many to list! All of these are focused on building bridges to introduce people to Christ through an avenue of common interest. All present the message: we love you and God loves you. The Greatest Bridge is Jesus, who brings man into perfect communion with His Father, our Father God.
Are you a bridge builder? Certainly our calling in Christ is to love others even when their interests are not identical to ours, and to bring them into a relationship with Jesus Christ and His church. Philippians 2:4 reminds us, Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.