Pastor Michael White from First Baptist Church of Big Bear Valley in Big Bear Lake, Ca shares his experience with the Missional Pathway and how it impacted his church.
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You Won't Believe This Example Of A Missional Church
The Bridge Foursquare Church chose to “adopt their city”, offering to provide volunteers to help the City of Rancho Santa Margarita in any way, at any time it was needed. The city, citing ‘separation of church and state’, said “No”. So, the church kept offering.
Months went by with members of the Bridge continuing to drop in on the city offices and offer their help—no strings attached. Eventually, the City had a need for volunteers and asked the Bridge to help. All 35 adult members of the church showed up and served (I think it was a building dedication), without wearing The Bridge t-shirts, without passing out Come Worship with Us! cards, without hanging a banner with the church location and service times.
Members of the Bridge did nothing to promote themselves. They came to serve their city -- with no strings attached – and they did.
Several weeks later, the city had another need and contacted the Bridge for help. In the years that have passed, the Bridge (now several hundred strong) is an integral part of every community event in Rancho Santa Margarita.
A few years after completing the reFocusing process, I attended the city’s Fourth of July celebration. The Bridge provided live music (mostly secular), handed out bottles of water, and served in a multitude of ways.
A City Councilmember told me (essentially): “I don’t know where our city would be without the Bridge. They have contributed massively to this community in ways we can never repay.”
Serving the Community
One year, the elders decided to give a financial gift to their city. They prayed and mailed a check to City Hall. It was returned. The city cited ‘separation of church and state’ and remarked that no church had ever given financially to their city.
Undeterred, church leaders inquired about how they might give to the city. An employee suggested that if they were put on the agenda at a City Counsel meeting and explained their motivations maybe the city would accept the gift.
They arrived to find the normally empty City Council Chambers packed with hundreds of angry residents who were berating the Council about something that had taken place at a local school. In the midst of the vitriol, the Bridge was invited to speak. Humbly, they asked the City to receive the check as an expression of the church’s gratitude for the city —nothing more. Against the backdrop of residents rage the offer was stunning. You could hear a pin drop, I was told. Within moments someone clapped, then another, until the crown gave a standing ovation to the joy of Council members. Only God could have set this up!
Oh, by the way, many city employees have come to faith in Christ and attend the Bridge today.