22 02 2013

page25_picture0_1345493656These are some ideas Bridgebuilder churches have used to begin developing a redemptive relationship with their communities.

Volunteering to help the cafeteria workers in the schools

This is a great one for building a rapport with the school and helping your people see that side of life

Taking a Vacation Bible School INTO a neighborhood

This helps people meet you—lets them see their children are safe with you—lets your people meet neighbors who may hide out in their houses otherwise

Offer A GOOD QUESTION Forum in a neighborhood coffee shop

This I can share in detail—but you create a middle space where people are invited to come, enjoy coffee and ask questions about the Bible, God, Christianity etc—where they will not be asked to join anything , agreed or commit to anything.

Throw a Baby Shower for an Unwed Mother

Walk the Neighbor Hood and Ask “How can we make this a better place to live for you?”Great starter for spiritual conversations)

Adopting a Food Bank and Offering Coaching in Food Preparation

Microwavable and easy-to-prepare food is not often present and people have to learn how to use the food they receive

Diaper Changing Stations at Community Festivals

Setting up a Prayer Station at a Community to Pray for Loved Ones in Afghanistan, etc.

Does your church have an idea they would share with us?


13 02 2013

One of the basic principles of Bridgebuilders is the need to  be continually and realistically exegeting the culture.  Scott McKnight provides this important insight.

Millennials and Stress
By scotmcknight

Parents and pastors, friends and co-workers… this deserves our attention.

Stress levels for Americans have taken a decidedly downward turn across the USA — except for young adults, whose stress is higher than the national norm, says a survey to be released Thursday.

Those ages 18-33 — the Millennial generation — are plenty stressed, and it’s not letting up: 39% say their stress has increased in the past year; 52% say stress has kept them awake at night in the past month. And more than any other age group, they report being told by a health care provider that they have either depression or an anxiety disorder.

The online survey of 2,020 U.S. adults 18 and older, conducted in August by Harris Interactive for the American Psychological Association, has been taking the stress pulse of Americans since 2007.

On a 10-point scale, where 1 means “little or no stress” and 10 means “a great deal of stress,” the 2012 average is 4.9.

But for Millennials, it’s 5.4.

“Younger people do tend to be more stressed than older people do. It may be they are more willing to admit to it. It may be a phase of life. They just don’t know where they’re going in life,” says Mike Hais of Arcadia, Calif., a market researcher and co-author of two books on that generation, including 2011′s Millennial Momentum.

But for this group, there is more cause for worry, Hais says.

“Millennials are growing up at a tough time. They were sheltered in many ways, with a lot of high expectations for what they should achieve. Individual failure is difficult to accept when confronted with a sense you’re an important person and expected to achieve. Even though, in most instances, it’s not their fault — the economy collapsed just as many of them were getting out of college and coming of age — that does lead to a greater sense of stress,” he says.


12 02 2013

ON MISSIONby Steve Dunn

We are all familiar with the Great Commission-“Go and make disciples …” It was something we were taught from the earliest days that Churches of God were called into being.

Evangelism and making authentic disciples was at the heart of the movement John Winebrenner and others began in 1825 when the Holy Spirit told them the Church in America needed renewal and revival.

The Great Commission reminds us that the Church has always been intended to be a missionary movement, a group of people on mission with Jesus to bring the Good News of the Kingdom to the world.

It is an identity that has largely been lost as so many of our churches have slipped into a maintenance mentality–keeping a program going, a building function, and providing services those who are already disciples of Jesus Christ.

It is time again to become a missionary organization.

How do we do this?

It begins with prayer, prayer that God will give you eyes to see and for the mission field that begins right outside your front door.

This first step helps your church become receptive to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

Next you examine God’s Word, to become aware of the dynamics of the Great Commission to become Christ’s respectful ambassadors. Remember, you are not going out to fight a culture war, you are going out to share the Good News of the Kingdom by developing redemptive relationships with your un-churched neighbors. Suggested scriptures: 1 Peter 3.8-13, 2 Corinthians 5:14-21,Matthew 9:35-38.

Thirdly, start listening to the culture. What do people in the prevailing culture value? what do they struggle with? who do they respect? what are their dreams? And think locally as much as possible.

Then identify points of contact where you may be able to do an act of kindness in Jesus name, so you can begin to create opportunities to get connected with them and start building redemptive relationships with them. We call this BUILDING BRIDGES TO THE BRIDGE.

Make a simple plan, prepare for action – and then SIMPLY DO IT!


7 02 2013



FROM CHARLIE ZAHORA and the New Cumberland PA Church of God:

We have a small team at our church called the CORE team, Community OutReach Events. We formed last year and have completed several outreach events. We began by adopting a “mission field” outside our church door, which is about 10 square blocks and 350 homes. In this area we hosted three “Meet Your Neighbor Barbeques”, gave every home a potted flower with an invitation to the barbeques, walked around giving away quarts of homemade chicken corn soup, hosted free summer lunches for school kids, done a few home repair projects for disabled folks, elderly & single mothers, picked up litter, done prayer walks, and a few other ministries. We’ve had lots of “touches” and have been content with our impact. Our intent is to GO into the local community and serve as missionaries. Thanks for any ideas.


7 02 2013


“And without faith it is impossible to please God…” – Hebrews 11:6a

I cannot tell you how many times I have this conversation in some form with a pastor.  “Steve, I weep for the people of my community who need Jesus. My heart breaks as I see the unrealized potential of the church I am leading.  There is so much that needs to be done and yet we cannot seem to break free of doing church as we have always done it.  People are afraid to take a risk and it is easier to just try and perpetuate what makes us comfortable instead of helping people find salvation.”

Our desire to be safe and comfortable often makes us resistant to the change needed to follow the leading of God.  Some of that is fear–fear that we will lose something precious to us in the process of giving ourselves away to others.  Some of that is a lack of vision.  We see a church as a building, or as organization that meets our needs, or as a closed fellowship that insulates us from the troubles of others.  Some of that is our image of God.  And to quote JB Phillips, (Our) God is too small.”

God is intimately concerned about the smallest portion of His creation.  All people great and small matter to Him.  As Bill Hybels says, “You have never locked eyes on someone for whom Christ did not die.”

But God always has a Big Picture.  For God so loved the WORLD not just our small corner of it.  And God commands us to join Him in the work of making disciples of the whole world–starting with our small family circle, but never limited to it.

God does great work in our comfortable surroundings, but He does His beat work in the zone of the unknown.  But you and your church will never go there with Him if you are afraid or if you try to ignore Big Picture. Without faith you cannot build bridges to the Bridge because those who need to cross over are always beyond the place where we feel safe.



5 02 2013

A very good friend of mine, Chuck Frank, emailed me this segment of Bill Easum’s recent blog.  It speaks exactly what Bridgebuilders is seeking to implant in churches. – STEVE


Everyone of who follows my stuff knows I am a great fan of the local church. It is fundamental to the growth of the Kingdom, along with other forms of being the Church. I have no trek with those who say the day of the local church is over.

I can’t stand what the vast majority of mainline churches and many sideline churches have become. They set back a wait for people to show up like a spider that spins its web waits for an unsuspecting victim. I call this the Jerusalem effect and the build it and they will come effect. Oddly enough, this approach to evangelism worked when I started ministry over 50 years ago. Today, however very few unchurched people come to worship on their own.

Interestingly enough a friend gave me a url to Mike Breen’s blog . It was right up my alley. I thought I would share a couple of his quotes with you….
“So let us be clear: missionaries are always better than mission projects. Leaders are more necessary then volunteers. And disciples are surely what we’re going for rather than mere converts.”

I couldn’t agree more. I’ve always told churches that volunteers, missions committees, and programs are not the way to go. In our new book , Effective Staffing for the Vital Church, I talk about “backyard missionaries.” Everyone needs to be trained to be a missionary in their everyday life. Also disciples are needed not volunteers.

Here is another goodie.

“There is a paradigm shift that needs to happen. We need to move from being a worshipping body that sometimes does mission to a missional body that gathers to celebrate and worship.”

I have started telling leaders that it is not enough to have small groups that make disciples; now small groups need to the missionary arm of the church. Each small group needs a mission in the community.

That leads to Breen’s last comment I want to highlight.

“Missional communities are the training wheels that teach us how to ride the bike of oikos.”

Now this is brilliant. He’s talking about 20-30 people acting as an extended family taking the message to their communities. We need to focus on training Mom and Dad, Aunts and Uncles, etc. to help their extended families be those backyard missionaries we talk about.

What is your church doing to make backyard missionaries?