Our stated purpose at GPBC is to Help People Follow Jesus Together. An integral component of doing this is to first introduce people to the person of Jesus Christ. We find ourselves in challenging times and living in a culture that seems unwelcoming to most of what we as Jesus followers believe. This makes it difficult to build bridges to our not-yet-Christian family members, neighbors, co-workers, and friends.
In order to build relational bridges, it takes intentionality and being strategic. SW Church Together events such as the Alpenrose joint worship service, summer camp, Compassion Clinic, and Multnomah Days; the Hoodie Giveaway; partnering with Habitat For Humanity and Wilson High School maintenance projects are all efforts to engage our surrounding community, often in lockstep with our neighboring faith communities. These are corporate efforts, but we also have many opportunities to individually find ways to build bridges.
A resource that has been helpful to me is a book called Growing Local Missionaries by Dan Steigerwald. “Growing Local Missionaries is about real action for the good of the world - equipping people to move in their neighborhoods and cities with confidence in both their God-given identity and their capacity to pass on practical missionary skills.” It’s not artificially creating ways to build bridges but rather using your God-given passions and gifting to intentionally and strategically move into relationships with our not-yet-Christian spheres of influence.
Check it out and check out the GPBC calendar to see if there is a Building Bridges class, based on this book coming up!
A little bit about the author:
“Dan Steigerwald lives in Portland Oregon. Prior to settling in Portland, he served 20 years in Europe and various developing world contexts as a missionary, church-planter, and pastor. Dan is a longstanding active leader in Christian Associates International (http://christianassociates.org), and leads coaching teams with Bridges (www.bridgesus.org) and George Fox Seminary (where he earned a DMin in Leadership in the Emerging Culture and now serves as an Adjunct Professor). He loves helping leaders and churches develop and implement missional training and church planting strategies, while also advocating for various creation care and shalom-sowing initiatives in his neighborhood and city.”
A helpful review:
“Dan's very helpful and insightful book clearly and succinctly articulates a great example of PRAXIS (the intentional marriage between or webbing together of theory and practice). This Book stimulates further conversation and definitely propels the Christian into a deeper understanding of his/her calling. Dan further offers simple yet profound practical examples into ways that a Christian can design and develop attitude and actions that guide the reader to "sow shalom" wherever s/he is. It is a MUST READ because after reading this book, you cannot say, "If only I had known!" You would surely KNOW after reading this Book!!!” Dennis N. Walker, Amazon Reviewer