What's in a Name?
Last Sunday saw the launch of Bridge Church Peckham. Those of us who’ve been a part of the prayerful consideration of whether we should go ahead and do this, have also been part of a long and sometimes seemingly interminable discussion about what to call this new church! We settled on Bridge Church Peckham. Eventually. Perhaps out of conviction. Mainly out of necessity.
The thing about a bridge is that it connects things. It brings them together. It allows connections to be made. And we’re a church that’s about making connections. In particular, we want to play our part in establishing and enabling three key connections.
We want to help people connect with God. He wants us to know him. He has gone to incredible lengths in sending his son, the Lord Jesus Christ to die in our place so that we might be forgiven. We’d love to help people come to know him for themselves.
We want people to connect with one another. Churches can become places where like meets like. But our prayerful ambition is to be a church full of people who are unlike us. We want people to look at us as a church family and ask themselves ‘what do they have in common?’ ‘What is it that unites them?’ And perhaps even ‘what have they got that I haven’t and society needs?’ We’d love to be a church with people of differing ethnicities, ages, stages and cultures.
We want to connect with our local community. According to the 2011 census, almost 50% of the five electoral wards in Peckham claim no allegiance to Jesus Christ. That’s almost 35,00 people. Many of those people may never have heard the gospel in language that they understand. And we want to do something about that. We’d love to connect with people for whom church isn’t even on their radar.
Knowing that this is the type of church we’re trying to be helps others work out whether this is a church in which they would flourish.
If you’re someone that wants to be a part of a church that first and foremost is about connecting with God then you’d love it here. If you’re a person who wants to be part of a church that is about helping people connect with one another then you’d love it here. And if you’re someone who wants to be part of a church that wants to connect with people who aren’t in church then you’d love it here. The odds are, that if those things aren’t what you’re looking for in a church then you won’t love it at ‘The Bridge’.
For those of us who, after prayerful consideration and discussion with church leaders, have decided to join in it’s worth asking how can you help and not hinder us fulfilling our ambition. If I can put it this way, how can you be a bridge builder? It’s cheesy. But I can live with that!
Be a person who connects with God: and so we’ll work hard at our own relationship with the Lord. We want to be those who invite others to connect with God speaking out of a place of personal experience. Bridge builders will prioritise our own Bible reading and prayer, involvement in midweek ministries and attendance at church.
Be a person who connects with the church family: and so we’ll work hard at our own relationships with others in church. But we’ll perhaps especially pay attention to relating well with those most unlike us. Typically to connect well with others we need to open up our diaries and give people some time, open up our homes and give people some food and open up our hearts and give them some love. Bridge builders will prioritise time with our church family.
Be a person who connects with the local community: and so we’ll work hard at building friendships with people and being intentionally involved with activities, clubs and societies in the local area. We want to put down roots so that if we were ever required to leave, people would not only notice that we’d gone but wish that we hadn’t. Bridge builders will prioritise involvement in stuff outside church.
So that’s what’s in a name. We think it helpfully summarises what kind of church we’re trying to be, who will flourish by being a part of what we’re trying to build and also clarify how each of us can help make it a reality.