John Roebling was a visionary. He stood on one side of the Niagara River gorge and dreamed about building a suspension bridge to the other side. This bridge would connect Niagara Falls Ontario with Niagara Falls New York. He shared his dream and the response was universal: not a chance. People thought it could not be done. The span was 825 feet and the height was 200 feet. How in the world could a bridge ever be built that would span that distance and that height? And to make matters even more difficult the Niagara spewed 37.4 millions of gallons of water over its rocky ledge every minute. At the bottom of the falls the water churned and roared in deep pools before it calmed and continued its long journey to the sea. Yet in spite of all the obstacles, John Roebling still envisioned a train crossing safely from one side to the other. He saw the value of a bridge and was committed to making it happen. In 1954 the bridge was completed enabling people and commerce to flow between the two cities.
A bridge is a structure that connects two things together. In a literal sense, bridges often span a body of water, a valley, a swamp, or other roads. In a spiritual sense a bridge is something that spans the chasm between a follower of Jesus and the rest of the world. Freshwater is committed to being a bridge that stretches out deep into the community reaching the broken and hurting with the love of Christ.
Many churches in the metro area and surrounding communities that once flourished and were full of vibrant people have slowly withered and now sit empty most of the time. Some have closed and have been repurposed as beauty shops, car dealerships, and homes. Why? How could something so vibrant and relevant just shrivel up, go on life support, or even close? If Jesus Christ is the light of the world how come so many churches are going dark? Could the answer be that the church quit building bridges that help connect people to God? At Freshwater, we are in the bridge building business and we have laid out a clear and compelling five year vision that will take an incredible amount of faith to accomplish.
Our vision includes eight clear and compelling goals.
1. Lower the divorce rate by 5% in five years.
2. Lower personal debt by 50% in five years.
3. Positively impact and assist over 300 people struggling with substance abuse and mental health challenges.
4. See 1,000 people make the decision to follow Christ in the next five years.
5. See 80% of Freshwater people connected with others in a group.
6. Plant five new churches in five years.
7. Celebrate with over 2,000 people at all of our worship services in five years.
8. Build and move into a new facility within five years that meets our needs and leverages our existing facilities.
Right now you and I are standing on the edge of a cliff looking across an ever widening chasm between the church and the world. Sadly, six out of ten adults see the church as irrelevant. They don’t see any benefit to the church and many have no idea what it even exists for. It breaks my heart when the hope that Jesus offers isn’t bridged to others. But it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s not too late to take action. This is why we are committed to raising the spiritual climate of our community by building bridges that connect people to God.
This is how you can become a bridge builder: