More than a series … a challenge!
This is the first of four weeks where we will focus on a vision for a major shift at Life Bridge Church. This is far more than just a four-week series … this is an invitation to join us on the forward trajectory of considering others Greater Than ourselves, and loving them accordingly. While the leadership team has set the vision, we know that it will take commitment on an individual level … specifically, your level … for us to ever collectively reach this larger-than-ourselves purpose.
We are a very young church, but that has not limited God’s blessing on us. We have “accomplished” much through Him in a short time, but we feel the church is at a natural tipping point. A point where we could “fall” inward or launch outward. As a leadership team, we believe God has answered clearly and we are ready to move. Not in the locational sense (isn’t it just fun to make up new words, like locational?!), but in the direction of the local and global needs that God has for us.
We are not without examples of this in our short history. This week we showed a video of an amazing teenager who took the initiative in response to a far away need and birthed a bake sale whose proceeds were sent off to the Central India Christian Mission to aid in the work of starting new churches. Over the next few weeks, we’ll see other examples of individuals and small groups of people within our midst who are serving in areas of real need. We believe we can build on this foundation and launch farther and higher and speak life and the love of Jesus into the lives of countless others, both around the corner and around the world.
This vision is not a new one. Paul issued the same challenge to the Philippian church, his church, while he was in prison. In chapter two of his letter, Paul speaks to the same place of blessing and encouragement that we find ourselves in as a church. I believe we can join with the chorus of yes’ in response to his words in verse 1…
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,
“Yes, we are encouraged! Yes, we are comforted! Yes, we have shared in the Spirit and feel a tenderness and compassion uncommon with the world! Yes, Yes, Yes and YES!” And then he hits them with the challenge to move past that place to Greater Than.
… then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
We should never take the encouragement and comfort God blesses us with for granted, but we should also never allow ourselves to stay there. In the same spirit, let us individually and collectively and with great humility, value others above ourselves and go love our world and the world in that way! Greater Than!
So what will this look like for us as community of followers of Jesus?
- Continue the mission
We have been blessed with volunteers that make “church” work and thrive, and we need to stay committed to that. We cannot neglect the godly calling of ministering each Sunday to those who walk through our door.
We are going to do discipleship a little differently (maybe a lot differently) than you might have known it to be defined before. And that “do” word was used intentionally. We are not going to create a classroom where we can study and learn in order to know, we are going to know by experiencing. Beginning in October, we’ll meet every Wednesday at 6:30 for a meal. A big ol’ family dinner, where we’ll stretch you beyond your zone of comfort. All with the purpose of discipleship.
- Local Outreach
There is great need in our “backyard.” Both downriver and in the city of Detroit there is genuine and great need. We are looking to engage that need in a far bigger way. Beginning with “Backpacks for Brightmoor,” we want to reach out into the community that we drive in and through every day and meet needs. We have a beautiful young woman in our Life Bridge family named Charlotte Kok (pronounced “coke”) who is a teacher in Brightmoor, and who could just break your heart in 5 minutes with stories she can tell of the need that exists there. The kids in her classroom, the kids that come everyday to the Brightmoor school don’t have even the most basic things. A warm coat, school supplies, these are things that we take for granted and have at our fingertips … these children don’t. We encourage you to donate a backpack and/or anything you can from the supply list (Wide-ruled loose notebook paper, Lysol wipes, Hand Sanitizer, Kleenex, Pencils & Colored pencils, Glue Sticks, Markers & Crayons, Reusable Water Bottles, Scissors, Socks, Deodorant, Tooth Brush/Paste). We have some other examples of small things we’ve done in the past, but we’re looking carry the vision of Greater Than into our local communities in a big way moving forward.
- Global Strategy
We haven’t had a missions plan in our brief history as a church … we’re changing that. With the small step of the story we highlighted this week with the Central India Christian Mission, we are extending our Greater Than vision globally.
To support this vision, the leadership team has set a bold course where, going forward, 10% of our income will go towards local outreach and global missions. Five percent each, but a total of 10%. Believe me when I say, this is a major shift for Life Bridge Church.
So, I’ve mentioned “leadership team” a lot, and I would just like to bring this back to what we know will be true of this vision to consider others Greater Than ourselves. Namely, that it’s going to require strong commitment on an individual level … your level. In order to realize this larger-than-ourselves purpose as a community of followers of the risen Christ, it’s going to take individual commitment, your commitment.
Will you join us on this journey to consider others Greater Than? Will you choose to live out the word picture YOU > ME in your own life, and then bring that submitted self to our shared altar and join your fellow followers in the work we desire to be doing? I pray that you will. We need you! And if you do, keep your eyes, ears and heart wide open to see what God can do!