Just as our Mission answers the question “What has God called us to do?” our Practices answer the question, “How are we going to get there?” Just as we have no right to invent our own Mission, we also have no right to invent our own Practices. God has already clearly revealed to us in Scripture what are the Practices by which we will accomplish His Mission. At The Bridge, we see 4 primary Practices that we are to give our lives to: Loving, Reaching, Connecting and Equipping. These Core Practices emerge from the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.
We see these 4 Practices as a grid to filter all our decisions through. If a proposed decision does not enable us to Love, Reach, Connect or Equip others, we will not pursue it.
Loving – God and others.
The Great Commandment, according to Jesus Christ is, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” The most important thing we can do with our life is to love God and people. Loving God will result in a life of devotion, holiness, worship, and prayer. Loving people will result in a life of sacrificial service, as we devote our time, money, possessions, and talents to help others.
Reaching – The Lost and Broken.
The next 3 Practices stem from the Great Commission. Jesus taught us to make disciples, but He also taught us how to do it. There are 3 participles in Mt.28:18-20 that reveal the process of making disciples – going, baptizing, and teaching. Each of those participles corresponds to one of our Practices. We reach lost and broken people by going to them. This means that we intentionally demonstrate and declare the gospel. If we are going to be faithful to Jesus’ Mission, we must be concerned for those that are outside of our walls. The way we do that at The Bridge is by intentionally strategizing and planning ways we will go to lost and broken people together. We spend time regularly at our Wednesday evening Equipping evening doing just that.
Connecting – People into Authentic and Meaningful Community.
Jesus taught that the way we make disciples includes baptizing. Acts 2:41 says, “So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.” On the day of Pentecost, those who were baptized were added or connected to the church. So, baptizing corresponds with connecting. True Christian fellowship begins to take place when a sinner is born into God’s kingdom. Although we want to follow Christ’s example by spending time with people who don’t know Jesus yet, there is a special bond that true Christians have with one another. We experience that connectedness in a special way in our Sunday morning House Church gatherings. If you’ve ever been part of a religious group where you felt you needed to act like someone you weren’t, or wear a religious mask, you know how destructive that is to true spiritual growth. We want to be a community in which we can be honest about our lives and our struggles, and allow the Gospel to transform us from the inside out.
Equipping – believers to be and make disciples.
Jesus told us that part of the process of making disciples is to teach them to observe all that He commanded. He had just commanded them to make disciples. Thus, our work of disciple-making includes equipping or teaching them to make disciples and we take that calling seriously. We try to make sure that everything we do provides an environment for growing as a disciple and equipping disciples to make disciples. Discipleship happens best when disciples share life with each other. We realize that we need to radically reorient our lives so that this life-on-life discipling can take place. At the same time, we seek to equip disciples through our expository teaching on Sunday mornings, Equipping evenings on Wednesday nights and our regular outreaches together.
We sum up our Practices like this:
We practice loving God and others, by reaching out to lost and broken people, and connecting them into meaningful and authentic community, where we can equip them to be and make disciples.