Building bridges in the black country
Bridge Builders is an interdenominational network, which is part of the Net. The Net functions in the part of the West Midlands called the Black Country and simply tries to bring churches together and help establish a Kingdom mentality in the area. Bridge Builders is the 15 – 20, network of the Net and its main function is to ‘Instil Kingdom mentality in the youth of the Black Country’. The main part of this as the name suggests is to build bridges between the young people, i.e. people from different churches becoming friends. We also try to help each other get closer to God and live out mission in our everyday lives.
The reason Bridge Builders was set up was simply because a young lady called Linsey Prince saw that the youth from different churches in our area didn’t really mix or know each other and she wanted to change that. So Linsey approached the Net and they helped her start what is now called Bridge Builders, which is simply based on how the Bible tells us to live. The first session was in September 2000.
Bridge Builders then functioned by having a monthly session in a church, where we seek God, build relationships and challenge each other in our lives. We rotated where we held the sessions round each of the four boroughs of the Black Country, so Bridge Builders was accessible to all the young people in the area. We also try to have Bridge Builders socials where people can bring along their non-Christian friends to have fun surrounded by Christians in a non-Christian environment, what a mouth full! To promote Bridge Builders we do what we call roadshows around different youth groups in the Black Country basically telling them about Bridge Builders.
Bridge Builders is run by a team of young people aged 16-19 from different churches around the Black Country. The team makes all of the decisions and is responsible for the roadshows and all things connected to Bridge Builders. The unique thing about Bridge Builders is that it works on the principle of ‘Iron Sharpens Iron’, because no youth leaders attend the sessions. Bridge Builders is held accountable by people inside the Net which includes a Council of Reference made up from youth leaders from different churches within the Black Country.
I guess this is the part I talk about the future. Well in the words of an advert ‘the futures bright the futures ora….’, only joking. As a team we are currently seeking God to know where to go in the future with Bridge Builders because we don’t want to just drift on the back of the great stuff that God has already done, we want to constantly be doing his will. The use of sessions might be over for this season as we are aware that God wants us to be open to where he wants us to go. So Bridge Builders might soon be taking on a role more centred around relationships and smaller groups.
After writing this I realise just how blessed we are and I hope this has been of some encouragement or has started some ideas for you.