Perspectives on Spiritual, Intellectual and Pastoral Issues: Host – Lowell Qualls

The Bridge

The Bridge

The Bridge - to Christ, Spiritual Maturity, and Hope to the World

The Bridge.  A new name, a new vision, a new pastor, a new approach to ministry, a new congregation.  By the way … I’m that new pastor.  I took the position in October, and it’s been great!  I love the people – “the survivors” is what I call the folks who made it through the turbulence of transition from former pastor/former church to new pastor/new vision.

Maybe you noticed the logo caption.  We, the people at The Bridge, want to be a bridge to Jesus.  We will never change the message!  It’s Jesus Christ, the Lord, Son of God, born of a virgin, lived in Palestine, taught disciples, was crucified, dead, buried and RISEN!  And coming King!

While we’re orthodox in our beliefs we will tend to be unorthodox in our approach to reaching out to the “dechurched” and the “unchurched.”

Matt Chandler (Google Matt, and look for him on You Tube as well) describes the dechurched as people who attended church when they were younger (pre- and even post-adolescence) but, for a ton of reasons, decided church wasn’t their thing.

I’ve come to the conclusion, after years of observation myself, that the dechurched may have thought attending church was pointless, irrelevant, dead/lifeless, populated by hypocrites, and constantly wanting more and more money.  The dechurched may have been hurt in a plethora of ways while attending church, and they’ve decided, “Who needs this!?”  Unfortunately, they may have seen hypocrisy in their own home and decided, “Why go to the trouble of going to church on Sunday morning when there are better things to do?”

The dechurched, after years of wandering the planet, wondering if there is a personal God that’s as sick of “church” as they are, believing that Jesus Christ is who He said He was, and investigating every spiritual nook and cranny there is have finally decided, “If I can find a group of REAL Christ-followers – authentic, transparent, loving, kind, other-centric, missional and more – I’ll check it out.  If I can find a group of Christ-followers who are honest about their imperfections and don’t make excuses for their misbehavior (they actually ask for forgiveness and want to make things right), I might check it out.  If I can find a diverse congregation that does not try to be politically correct but (instead)  tries to love each other the way Martin Luther King dreamed, I might check it out.”

It is my hope that The Bridge will be all those things!  I want to hang out with people like those I described above.  I want to build relationships with honest-to-God and authentic people who get the Gospel, believe it, and want to live in a community that looks and sounds a lot like Jesus if He were living here, and now.

Sounds idealistic?  Sounds impossible?  I don’t care what it sounds like – this is the vision I have for The Bridge.  Before my life is over I want to be with a group of people who want to do “Church” the way Jesus intended it to be.

Give me some feedback!  What did I leave out of my vision.  That’s an honest question.  I want to know.

Comments on: "The Bridge" (3)

  1. Noreen Manvell said:

    Lowell, I took a look at your blog because of your post on Facebook. Since I live in Tennessee, I am not a prospect for your church, but remember you from W-L and enjoy reconnecting with former classmates after all this time.

    The blog is nice – I use WordPress for most of my sites. With all due respect, I think this template is a little busy and distracting – the Tags widget and Recent Posts widget really don’t contribute anything to the user’s experience and add a lot of clutter. I’m not sure you need tags at all – they make the bottom of your post so confusing that you cannot even see the comment link. You might consider a 2 column theme rather than 3, to make it less overwhelming. That’s my professional suggestion, for what it’s worth.

    As to your question about what did you leave out of your vision, I noticed a lot of “I” rather than a lot of “we.” I hope you have the support of your newly acquired congregation. I totally “get” that you are reaching out to the unchurched and have a lot of enthusiasm, but perhaps you could include more about the people already there in your next post.

    If I was considering changing from my church or changing my unchurched status, I would want to know more about the people who attend your church. Are they friendly and welcoming or shy or judgemental? How formal is attire on Sundays? How many young people come regularly? Do you include music and video in your services? Do you have bible reading classes at convenient times? Do you encourage people to come up to an hour before the Sunday service and have coffee and chat, or stick around afterward? – or does everyone just show up on time and then leave right away?

    Those are the things that came to mind when I read your post. It was very interesting to read some of the older posts, too. I am sorry that you lost your wife, impressed that you have traveled abroad, and glad that you have found an inspiring church to lead in your vision of The Bridge.

    Best wishes to you,

    Noreen

    • Hey Noreen! Now that’s what I’m talking about! I really enjoyed your response, and I’m going to take many of your suggestions concerning the blog site (simplifying, etc.). I will take time to write about the people that make up The Bridge. They, by the way, have complete buy-in when it comes to the vision I articulated in “The Bridge” blog. I couldn’t and wouldn’t attempt to reach the audience we’re after without their support and visioneering. I’ll check out your sites, too, as soon as I can. Question: Are you coming to the reunion? If you’re not aware of what’s happening I’ll be happy to steer you in the right direction.

  2. Samantha said:

    Sounds awesome. I think the outward focus is exactly the way Jesus would have done church. When you keep a real relationship with Jesus as the main focus of your church, I believe everything else will stem from that. When I read this all I see is loving Jesus with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.

    When you keep the first things first then you will easily work out the other stuff with God’s help.

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