BRIDGEBUILDERS – Building bridges to the Bridge 2013

17 01 2013
BRIDGEBUILDERS - Building bridges to the Bridge

BRIDGEBUILDERS – Building bridges to the Bridge

BY STEPHEN L DUNN

Bridgebuilders is about to enter a whole new level of ministry.  God has been moving in some exciting and powerful ways during 2012 and we eagerly anticipate what He is planning to do next through this arm of His kingdom.

After two years of research, writing and three pilot events, Bridgebuilders Seminars was launched in the winter and spring of 2010-2011 with three events sponsored by the ERC Commission on Evangelism in eastern Pennsylvania–at Roaring Spring, Elizabethtown and Camp Hill. The Seminars also received a broader introduction at breakout workshops at the 2011 sessions of the Eastern Regional Conference of the Churches of God. Weather issues and some scheduling problems with host churches, reduced our introductory events in the fall and winter of 2011-2012 but we were able to present the ministry at Shippensburg PA and Germantown MD.  While that public momentum slowed, God was at work behind the scenes.

In January 2012, I was given the opportunity to share the principles and format for the Bridgebuilders Seminars for the Regional Directors and Officers of the General Conference at a Leadership Retreat in Columbus OH.  That led to three immediate invitations for the Directors from the Allegheny, Great Lakes, and Western Regions.  In May I presented a new format called “The Bridgebuilders Principle” to the delegates of the Allegheny Conference at the their annual conference session at Camp Sunrise Mountain.  I was also able to interview our first potential Bridgebuilders Trainer from that Conference-Mike Bobula of Latrobe PA and also was able to recruit General Conference Associate Lance Finley, who operates out of Findlay OH.  In June I was given an plenary session opportunity with extended time to share the The Bridgebuilders Principle to the delegates meeting at the Great Lakes Conference in Findlay.  I also received time to do two one-hour breakout sessions on “The Mission Field Outside Your Front Door” which introduced people to some of the practical applications we teach in the Seminars.

In October I was invited first to the General Conference’s renewal conference called The Gathering for Renewal, sharing the actual Bridgebuilders Seminar with persons from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois.  This was followed with a Bridgebuilders Seminar provided in the same week for the Western Regional Pastors and Spouses Retreat in Branson MO.  This included persons from Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma.  These events led to a training retreat on “Creating a Discipleship Culture” for the November Ad Council Retreat for the Midwest Conference in Terre Haute IN and our first Bridgebuilders Seminar in the Allegheny Region at Mt. Pleasant in January of this year. (The event in Mt. Pleasant was the single best attended Bridgebuilders Seminar ever with 58 people attending).

Bridgebuilders Seminar at Eberly's Mill included PTI students

Bridgebuilders Seminar at Eberly’s Mill included PTI students

This fall the ERC sponsored two more area offerings of the Seminar–at Newville and Eberlys Mill in the ERC.  Both were also attended by students from the Pastoral Training Institute as guests of the Commission.  And Shippensburg sponsored the first ever Bridgebuilders Sunday which included a message from me at both services, a training time with the adult and youth Sunday School and a Sunday evening two-hour workshop. Three more men joined the process to become Bridgebuilders Trainers for the ERC – Mark Halliday, Tim Bistline and Dave Anderson.

As we head into 2013 the Commission on Evangelism is reorganizing to make Bridgebuilders and the Seminars the core to its program of resourcing churches and the School of Evangelism is becoming the training arm for coaches for the conference and local churches seeking to use the Bridgebulders Principle in their ministry. Planning has begun for Bridgebuilders Seminars at New Horizons and Camp Hill in the ERC and Latrobe and Indian Head in the ARC.  Later in 2013 the Bridgebuilders Principle will be presented to the Midwest Conference’s annual sessions.  It is hoped to have a book (which I am completing) called The Bridgebuilders Principle available for resourcing churches later in 2013.

God has been very busy.