Building Bridges is hard work!

Starting March of 2022 WordPress (the host of this blog) will be sending one word prompts to everyone like me. While I sort of scoffed at the idea when I read the header to the email announcing the idea, I must admit this meme has sparked some reflections. Maybe they will be worthy of a post.

For several years of my childhood, my four brothers and I lived with our paternal grandparents. We were able to spend a bit more time than usual with their generation as a result. One of our favorite places to visit was the remote farm of our grandfather’s sister and her husband. Visiting Uncle Lonnie and Aunt Mae was always an enjoyable adventure. Traveling to their house required fording a creek–in the vehicle because there was no bridge. The driver had to pull down into the stream of water and hope it was not deep enough to enter at the bottom of the doors!

A bridge is a means of access, thus it serves as a symbol of making contact. One of the largest global missions sending agencies has named their outreach division to international students by this name in its plural form.

When the Final Command team (of which I am a part) was launched back in 2011 we worked on a new website and logo design. The graphic designer who developed the current logo led us through a questionnaire which tried to locate a single word which might lend itself to a graphic presentation. The one word was the word “bridges.”

Our initial vision/mission statement affirmed, “Final Command Ministries exists to glorify God and obey Jesus’ final command by facilitating Church Planting Movements among least reached peoples. Our mission was three-fold: deploy and catalyze cross-cultural ministry teams in unreached areas, mobilize, train and equip existing churches and ministries in effective disciple making (paradigm shift) and help existing compassion ministries develop a disciple making capacity.”

We recognized that we did not presume to have all the knowledge of what God wanted to accomplish. We did not have the manpower, experience or resources needed. Our goal was to build bridges that assisted nearer neighbors to reach the unreached rather than waiting on Western missions agencies to send workers.

The graphic designer developed the arch as a symbol of those bridging efforts. We have not done a good job telling that story. Most newer members of the organization have no idea what lies behind the logo design (just a poor imitation of the Nike swoop)!

How can we do a better job of getting the Gospel out to places where it has not penetrated, yet? That has been our compelling issue. Because God has always led us to attempt that in conjunction with existing churches and compassion ministries, our focus has been on training, coaching and mentoring the coalition of the willing from within. We have not spent much time or energy on trying to persuade the resistant. Much like the strategy of looking for households of peace, we are always looking for potential multipliers–believers who believe God really does want multiplication to happen today.

Finding these two categories of influencers often demand bridge building. It is never easy. The terrain is often precarious, dangerous and the process always seems slower than we wished! But God has been faithful and we give him the praise and glory for the outcomes he has produced.

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